The Rolla City Council is advocating for the passage of the fuel tax increase on the November ballot and introduced a resolution dedicated to the passage of Proposition D — which was sent to the voters by the General Assembly through HB 1460.
The proposal is asking Missourians to approve a 10 cent fuel tax increase and other transportation funding proposals such as the creation of an “Emergency State Freight Bottleneck Fund,” and exempting Olympic winnings from state income taxes.
The increase proposed by Proposition D will put the fuel tax at very close to the same level — adjusted for inflation — which the tax was in the 1990s. Missouri's fuel tax is not automatically increased to account for inflation and has not been increased since the 1990s, according to the coalition supporting Proposition D, the SaferMO committee.
Statewide, Missouri has 17 routes that carry the interstate designation and account for 1,180 miles of the 32,318 miles included in Missouri’s total highway system.
Even though the interstate system accounts for less than 4 percent of Missouri’s total highway system, it carries 38 percent of the state’s total traffic volume. Therefore, the interstate system is a vital part of the overall transportation network in Missouri, according to the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT).
Out of these 1,178 miles of interstate routes, 944 miles contain some lanes that were initially constructed prior to 1973, which implies 80 percent of Missouri’s interstate system includes some lanes that are more than 25 years old, with some dating to the original 1956 construction date.
Some of the most critical interstates in Missouri according to MoDOT are I-70, which reaches across Missouri from the Illinois state line to the Kansas state line. It is the nation’s fifth largest east to west corridor, passing through 10 states from Maryland to Utah.
Both interstates, I-29 and I-35, are congressionally designated high priority corridors that handle traffic in northern Missouri, I-44, stretches across the south central part of Missouri and is a significant corridor traveling from the Midwest to the west coast. I-55 runs from the Midwest to the Gulf of Mexico.
Missouri Governor Mike Parson’s views investment in infrastructure as pertinent. He stated, “We have to do something with the infrastructure in the state of Missouri, and I don’t know how to sugarcoat this to anyone in here, but it is going to cost something to get that done.”
This involves a renewal of investment in infrastructure, which for the second time in six years; the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave Missouri a grade of C- on its infrastructure report card.
The report gave the highest grade to Missouri’s Bridges category, yet this category falls behind the national average. Missouri has the seventh most significant number of bridges nationwide and 12.5 percent of these bridges are structurally deficient, according to the ASCE, which is significantly higher than the 8.9 percent of structurally deficient bridges nationwide.
In harmony with the governor’s objectives and the statements from the ASCE, The Rolla City Council says the Missouri General Assembly moved affirmatively in 2018 to address the state’s road and bridge funding crisis by referring House Bill 1460 to the voters, “to have the final say on raising the state motor fuels tax to restore purchasing power and accelerate road and bridge projects.”
Local bridges are in dire need of repair, and Proposition D will improve the safety of state highways and local streets and bridges; moreover, after full implementation, produce more than $124 million in new annual funding for local streets and bridges statewide, according to the Rolla City Council’s resolution in support of Proposition D.
The Missouri Department of Transportation estimates that Rolla upon full implementation will receive $309,000 and Phelps County will receive $491,000 in new annual revenue from Proposition D for city street and bridge projects.
The combined positive impact, according to the Rolla City Council, is increased purchasing power for projects, safer roads and bridges and improved transportation routes to strengthen Missouri’s geographical advantages in business, agriculture, tourism and international commerce. “This would ultimately advance Missouri’s economy and quality of life."
Proposition D appears on Missouri’s Nov. 6, 2018, general election ballot and the decree calls for the amendment of Missouri law to fund Missouri state law enforcement by increasing the motor fuel tax by two and one-half cents per gallon annually for four years beginning July 1, 2019. The proposition will exempt Special Olympic, Paralympic, and Olympic prizes from state taxes, and will establish the Emergency State Freight Bottleneck Fund.
If passed, the measure will generate at least $288 million annually to the State Road Fund to provide for the funding of Missouri state law enforcement and $123 million annually to local governments for road construction and maintenance.
“We need to have infrastructure in place to expand in the state of Missouri — that is important,” exclaimed Governor Parson.
The Rolla City Council's agenda invites the community to the Rolla Regional Economic Commission Presentation on Proposition D on Sept. 5, 2018 at 3:30 p.m.
The location will be at Columbia College, 550 Blue’s Lake Parkway in Rolla.