By Ethan Colbert
Despite the objections of two Pike County Commissioners, the Better Highway 54 Coalition voted last month to endorse and pledge $5,000 in support of a ballot initiative that would raise the state’s fuel tax incrementally by 10-cents by 2022.
Currently the state’s gasoline tax is 17-cents a gallon and ranks as one of the lowest gasoline taxes in the nation.
If approved by voters, the initiative, which is called “A Safer Missouri,” would move the Missouri State Highway Patrol out from under the purview of the Missouri Department of Transportation and create it as a separate entity in the eyes of the state government.
Analysts say the tax could bring in an additional $293 million annually for the state road fund once the full amount has been implemented.
According to officials with the Missouri Department of Transportation, by removing the highway patrol from the transportation department’s budget there would be additional funds for continued road maintenance and for the construction of new bridges in the state.
The tax is also expected to generate $61 million for municipalities and $61 million for county governments to use on roads and bridge construction, according to Better Highway 54 Chairman Steve Hobbs.
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