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Funding MoDOT: More Missourians favor raising fuel tax over sales tax

Missouri Department of Transportation

A fuel tax increase now has more support than a sales tax increase to help pay for Missouri’s roads and bridges.

The Missouri Department of Transportation’s most recent surveyfinds 24 percent of Missourians favor raising taxes on fuel — an increase of 9 points since 2013. Meanwhile, raising the sales tax has lost support, falling four points to 17 percent.

The survey, conducted by phone with about 3,500 randomly selected residents between May and June this year, also finds that about 87 percent of the population is willing to pay more in general, said Machelle Watkins, MoDOT's transportation planning director. She reported the results to the Missouri Highways and  Transportation Commission on Wednesday.

“Specifically, when we asked them ‘what would you be willing to pay on a monthly basis additional for transportation?’65 percent indicated they’d be willing to spend another $5 or more a month to help fund transportation in the state,” she said.

This year, a proposed 2 cent fuel tax increase failed to get traction in the Missouri Legislature. Last November, voters rejected a three-quarter cent sales tax increase for transportation funding.

MoDOT is planning to maintain only a quarter of its roads and bridges fully by 2017 due to a projected budget shortfall.