JEFFERSON CITY – Missouri residents will be able to vote on raising the state's gasoline tax this November.
A question on the general election ballot calls for a phased-in 10-cent increase to the state's 17-cent per gallon motor fuel tax, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported .
The proposal would raise the state's fuel tax for gas and diesel 2.5 cents per year, starting next year. It would also increase taxes on alternative fuels, such as natural gas and propane.
The increase would leave the state at a 27 cent per gallon fuel tax by 2022, higher than the current national average of 24 cents per gallon, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Analysts predict the tax could bring in an additional $293 million for the state road fund.
"This is a major, major issue for the nation and our region and our state," said Patrick McKenna, director of the Missouri Department of Transportation.
The state Transportation Department will meet with regional planning commissions later this summer to create a priority list of potential projects.
"We have unfunded priorities throughout the state," McKenna said. "We understand where those are. We have bridges large and small that need repair."
The state hasn't raised gas taxes since 1992, when a 6-cent increase was conducted over four years.
Dan Mehan, president of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said it's time for the state to "step up and invest in our future transportation system."
But the Missouri Petroleum Markets and Convenience Store Association hasn't made a decision about whether or not to support the tax increase, said Ron Leone, the association's executive director. He said the group may discuss its position at a meeting in June.