Missouri retains its status as having the second-lowest gas tax in the United States after voters declined Tuesday to raise it to 27 cents a gallon by 2022.
Proposition D failed despite virtually zero opposition to the ballot measure. Even Republican state leadership was vocal in its support, though many did not vote for a gas tax increase in the General Assembly in 2015 and 2016.
The measure would have brought in an estimated $412 million a year for infrastructure projects and the state highway patrol. Missouri’s roads are among the worst in the nation, according to 2015 federal highway statistics.
Amy Jordan Wooden with SaferMO, the campaign in support of Prop D, told KCUR that the Missouri Department Transportation has a critical job to do.
“The problem doesn’t go away. So we’ll have to continue to figure out how do we invest in our infrastructure to ensure that we have safe roads and bridges,” Wooden said.
In a statement, MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna said he was disappointed, but respected vote of the people.
“Our top priorities are safety and taking care of what we have, and that is where we will continue to focus our attention. We will continue to do the best we can with what we have for as long as we can,” McKenna said. “Setting priorities among the many equally important transportation projects will be a tough job with limited resources, but we’ll continue to work closely with planning partners, local communities and customers to address Missouri’s most pressing needs.”
Lisa Rodriguez is a reporter and the afternoon newscaster for KCUR 89.3. Follow her on Twitter @larodrig.