Full Steam Ahead for Transportation Funding in Missouri
Before Missouri’s legislative session started a couple weeks ago, we wrote about how one of the main focuses for the body would be the state’s transportation funding issue. Quick action on fuel tax bills in the Senate has confirmed this position.
For instance, SB 623, a bill that would increase the fuel tax by 1.5 cents for regular fuel and 3.5 cents for diesel fuel, has already been voted out of the Senate’s transportation committee (unanimously). A similar bill last year (SB 540) did not even have a hearing until March 18th. SB 623 is not the only transportation bill that has seen a concerted push. SJR 18, which would not only increase the fuel tax but also transfer many of the state’s smaller highways to the control of local governments, has also been assigned to the transportation committee and will likely have a hearing soon.
Measures similar to those going forward in the Senate are making their way through the Missouri House of Representatives (HB 2032, 1581, and 1381), although not at such a breakneck pace. In addition, the legislature has yet to propose any infrastructure-related public–private partnership (P3) bill, which was introduced in last year’s session and would be essential for any efforts to use tolling to fund I-70’s reconstruction. Such a bill might never be introduced, but it is worth noting that the last year’s attempt at P3 legislation came late in the legislative session as an amendment to SB 540.
We’ll keep track of all these bills as they make their way through the legislative process.