Research/Commentary: Gas Taxes will not Solve Missouri’s Transportation Funding Problems

Over the past decade, more than 30 states have either increased or reformed their gas taxes. In Missouri, four new bills have been proposed for the spring legislative session that would increase Missouri’s gasoline tax for the first time in 20 years. The state’s current gas tax stands at 17 cents per gallon, which is one of the lowest rates in the country. According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, the state current has $825 million in unfunded annual transportation needs considered high priority.

There have been several attempts to increase the gas tax rate in recent years. In 2018, a ballot initiative to increase the tax by 2.5 cents per year for four years was rejected by Missouri voters. Three of the new bills would require voter approval, due to the rules set by the Hancock amendment, a constitutional amendment to the Missouri Constitution that requires all tax increases over a certain amount to pass a statewide referendum.