For the last several years, a lot of people have been looking at ways to improve Missouri’s roads and bridges. At the forefront has been the state of I-70 through Missouri, which is among the nation’s most-travelled interstates. But, it is not only the big highways that are aging. As we well know, lettered routes are amongst the more dangerous roads throughout our state. What is needed is a way to pay for improving all of these roads, and the solution to this challenge is something the Missouri General Assembly has been working on for years.

This year, the Legislature passed — and the governor signed — Senate Bill 262, which seeks to provide additional funding for MoDOT. This increased income is designed to be used for making much-needed repairs to the roads the Missouri Department of Transportation maintains. The new law also addresses the stagnation of money collected for transportation needs from electric and other vehicles that use alternative forms of fuel. The “good news, bad news” scenario of fuel-efficient vehicles is, while they are less expensive to operate, the fuel savings also means less money coming into the state for our roads.

But, this new law also carries a major selling point. Missourians can be reimbursed for the added cost of gasoline. The Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR) is in charge of handling refund requests for those people who turn in their gas receipts. DOR has added a section on their webpage that guides people through how to get a refund on the additional 2.5 cents for every gallon of gas they buy in the course of a year.

Infrastructure, after a certain length of time, starts to wear down. While MoDOT does a fantastic job of keeping up with its needs on a limited budget, there are only so many things folks there can do before they need more help. The downside of infrastructure is the cost of maintenance and improvements. The upside, in this case, is lawmakers took time to consider ways to make this expenditure a bit more palatable. In the long run, this new law should help get our roads in better shape. This means more goods can move through Missouri, which means more jobs and a continued way of life for all of us.

As always, please feel free to call, email or write with your ideas or concerns. My Capitol office number is (573) 751-1415, my email is dan.hegeman@senate.mo.gov and my mailing address is Room 332, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.

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