Eight counties | 36 cities | one region

a voluntary council of local governments
serving the missouri meramec area.

TAC, MRPC support proposed gas tax for roads, bridges

For immediate release

For more information, contact
Bonnie Prigge at (573) 265-2993

ST. JAMES—During its April 9 meeting, the Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) board authorized Chairman T.R. Dudley to sign a letter in support of the proposed 2+2+2 gas tax and share that letter with state legislators serving the Meramec Region. The action came at the recommendation of MRPC’s Transportation Advisory Committee that met earlier in the day.

Senate Bill 540, introduced by Sen. Doug Libla, aims to increase Missouri’s gas tax by six cents per gallon over three years to provide additional transportation funding.

It is estimated that the additional six cents per gallon would generate a total of $235 million per year for transportation projects in Missouri.

The bill would provide enough funding to allow the Missouri Department of Transportation to maintain all 34,000 miles of roadway, as opposed to the 8,000 it is currently maintaining under the 325 plan. MoDOT would also be able to re-open the cost-share program where cities and counties can share in the cost of local projects with MoDOT, and the tax increase would provide enough dollars to match federal transportation dollars in coming years. Without additional funds, the state will be unable to match all federal transportation dollars as soon as 2017.

The bill calls for an initial increase of two cents per gallon on motor fuel taxes, followed by additional two-cent increases in the following two years. This would change Missouri’s gas tax from the current rate of 17.3 cents per gallon to 23.3 cents per gallon by August of 2017.

The act contains an emergency clause making the initial two-cent increase effective Aug. 28.
The bill, if passed, also makes the motor fuel tax adjustable for inflation beginning in 2018. SB 540 also distributes some of the revenue generated to Missouri cities and counties for local transportation projects.

As it is currently written, 70 percent of generated revenue would go to the state level with 15 percent going to the cities and 15 percent going to counties. Fifteen percent of the revenue is estimated to be approximately $35 million.

Shortly after the April 9 board meeting, the bill was amended to a two-cent increase.

In other business, the MRPC board:
•Approved a letter to Gov. Jay Nixon, asking that he release State Aid to Regional Planning Commissions. As a part of the 2015 budget, RPCs across the state were to share in $100,000 of aid. MRPC would receive $4,550 and those funds are used to match MRPC’s federal economic development grant, which allows MRPC to assist cities and counties with grant writing.

•Approved a letter to state legislators requesting that they restore State Aid to Regional Planning Commissions, as a part of the Office of Administration’s budget.

•Heard a presentation by MRPC Planning Manager Connie Willman on the Naturally Meramec project, which brings together agriculture and tourism business owners to find ways to market and use each other’s products and services. The goal is to increase agriculture and tourism jobs as well as sales for these businesses through the creation of a regional culture of local businesses that benefit from each other. The work is funded through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farmers’ Market Promotion Program and the Delta Regional Authority (DRA).

•Recognized St. James Mayor Dennis Wilson for his eight years of service to MRPC and its various committees. Wilson did not seek re-election and introduced newly elect Mayor Jim White to the MRPC board.

•Heard a report from Chairman Dudley on the storm damage in Potosi and Washington County as well as his participation in the National Association of Development Organization’s legislative conference in Washington, D.C.

Formed in 1969, MRPC is a voluntary council of governments serving Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities. A professional staff of 20, directed by the MRPC board, offers technical assistance and services, such as grant preparation and administration, housing assistance, transportation planning, environmental planning, ordinance codification, business loans and other services to member communities.

To keep up with the latest MRPC news and events, visit the MRPC website at www.meramecregion.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/meramecregion.