You Decide: Proposition D would raise Missouri’s gas tax to fund road work

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- On Nov. 6, voters will decide whether to increase Missouri’s gas tax to improve roads and provide funding for the highway patrol.

The current gas tax in Missouri is 17 cents per gallon. In comparison, Pennsylvania’s gas tax rate is highest in the U.S. at about 58 cents per gallon, and Alaska's is the lowest at approximately 14 cents per gallon.

If approved, Prop D would increase the gas tax by 2.5 cents per gallon each year for 4 years, starting in July 2019.

  • July 2019 = 19 ½ cents
  • July 2020 = 22 cents
  • July 2021 = 24 ½ cents
  • July 2022 = 27 cents

That’s a total increase of 10 cents in the end.

Lawmakers say it will generate $288 million per year for the Missouri State Highway Patrol and $123 million per year for local governments for road work.

Currently, the Missouri Department of Transportation funds the highway patrol. If Proposition D passes, state officials say the new funding source for the highway patrol would free up MoDOT funds for future bridge and road work.

But some critics question whether an increase in the state's gas tax is the best way to fund that work and whether the state is properly managing the current revenue from the gas tax.

Missouri voters have a long history of rejecting general tax increases. In 2014, Missouri voters rejected a proposed sales tax for roads. They also defeated a transportation tax plan in 2002.

But supporters of Proposition D believe this could be the year that people say "yes." There's no organized opposition to Proposition D, and not a penny raised to counteract the nearly $5 million raised by supporters.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson and Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe both have been traveling the state promoting the gas tax.

At least 30 other states have raised transportation taxes or fees over the past six years. Missouri's gas tax has not changed since 1996.