Voters react to 10 cent gas tax MO proposal

High gas tax in Missouri
Updated: May. 24, 2018 at 7:11 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Missouri's gas tax has stayed at 17 cents per gallon for more than two decades, and voters will have a say on another 10 cent increase put on the November ballot by state lawmakers.

This gas tax proposes a two and a half cent increase over five years, but it may be ill-timed because market forces and the summer season are already causing fuel prices to climb.

"I would blame it on the holiday weekend," says Alvin White, who recently moved to Cape Girardeau. "It's automatically spiking up. You can pass by here one day it will be like $2.69 and then the next day, a matter of fact the next hour it will be like $2.79."

If the gas tax passes supporters say it would raise more than $290 million dollars by the year 2027, and that funding would go toward the Missouri Highway Patrol and repairing roads and bridges.

Larry Smith from Alexander County, Illinois doesn't support the increase because he doesn't think there is a valid reason behind it.

"Singing the blues, hearing a sob story because they can't or won't do their job or there is corruption in government doesn't affect me at all until I go to the gas pumps, or pay my state and federal taxes," he said.

But other voters like Nanette McDowell from Jackson is alright with spending a little more on taxes because she thinks these areas are in need.

"We need to have our roads and bridges in top condition. I think there are fewer accidents that way and for some reason it bothers me," McDowell said. "Also for the state patrolman. I'm all for giving our policeman everything they need. Everything."

Part of the tax increase would fund projects similar to the one on I-55, which is replacing six different bridges built more than 50 years ago.

Eric Krapf is the District Design Engineer for the department of transportation and says the main goal is to make highways safer for the drivers on it.

"Basically it's a program that maintains what we have," Krapf said. "We are surfacing roadways where we can, we're adding a little shoulder here or there which will enhance safety. Certainly when bridges reach the end of their useful life. Those are the bridges we select to replace."

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Krapf is also encourages the public to visit the MODOT website to see how their taxpayer dollars are being used from improvement projects in each city and county in the region.

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