Yes on Prop D: A gas tax increase is smart move for state infrastructure

It’s time to do something about Missouri’s roads.

Anyone who drives on our highways knows this. Many of our highways and bridges are in rough shape. The Missouri Department of Transportation is trying desperately just to maintain what we have. Maintenance slips behind every year our highways are underfunded.

Not only that, our state has no funding to expand our infrastructure. Our interstates our crowded, our populations dictate we need more lanes and highways to travel across Missouri.

Missouri’s highway infrastructure is the seventh-largest in the nation, and has the sixth most bridges.

A plan is being put forward on our Nov. 6 ballots. It’s called Proposition D.

And we should support it.

The plan calls for a raise in our gasoline tax by 2 1/2 cents each year over the next four years. This tax increase would provide more than $2 billion over a decade in new state funding for roads and bridges, according to proponents. The plan calls for dispensing funding to local governments, so all areas of the state will see dollars, not just St. Louis and Kansas City. Cape Girardeau County and its cities and townships will receive approximately $1.4 million for roads annually.

The last time our gas tax was increased was in 1996. Since that time, the state has built more than 6,000 miles of roads. Traffic has nearly doubled, and, because of inflation, the 17-cent gas tax is worth only 7 cents of the value it had in 1996, with inflation eroding 60 percent of the buying power, according to proponents.

This measure is a bipartisan effort, and is supported by Republican Gov. Mike Parson, among many other conservatives.

The funding will allow Missouri to move forward on projects put on the back burner, but it will also allow the state to match federal funds. Not only will our infrastructure improve, so will our economy. Construction will provide jobs, and better roads and highway systems will help draw business and industry.

The gas tax increase will push the rate to 27 cents a gallon, still 7 cents less than Illinois. Currently, Missouri ranks 49th in the nation in state motor fuel tax.

The plan also will support the Missouri State Highway Patrol, and free up current patrol funding to go toward road and bridge projects.

There are many reasons to support Proposition D.

We encourage a “yes” vote Nov. 6.