by Alexs Mallin

Missouri legislators on the transportation committee say raising taxes may be the only way to fix Missouri’s crumbling road systems.

The Blue Ribbon Transportation Committee has been meeting across the state since July to discuss fixing the state’s aging highways.

Committee Co-Chair and former state Sen. Bill McKenna said that the Missouri Department of Transportation will need extra revenue before Missourians see safer roads.

“I can’t see increasing money to MoDOT unless it would come from a new source of revenue, which would be new dollars on top of our existing taxes,” McKenna said.

MoDOT Chief Financial Officer Roberta Broeker said Missouri’s gasoline and license taxes haven’t risen in 20 years and the state ranks 41st in the nation in terms of revenue per mile of road.

Committee member and president of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce Dan Mehan said taxpayers will have to foot the bill for their roads to improve.

“I think that Missourians will trade some sort of a tax increase somewhere in the future if and only if they trust where it’s going,” Mehan said.

Missourians may not, however, be receptive to a tax increase. Voters have rejected a tobacco tax increase three times in the last decade.