With the state facing a $215 million annual backlog on critical infrastructure repair, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Iowa DOT director Paul Trombino released a two-page memo last week with a series of proposals for raising additional road repair funds.
A total of nine ideas were presented in the memo, which was released with select lawmakers and lobbyists in advance of the 2014 legislative session. Branstad and Trombino would not discuss the proposals in detail at press time, other than the possibility of eliminating the tax exemption farmers currently enjoy on “red-dye fuel” for their equipment. Under this proposal, the fuel would be subject to the current excise tax rate of 5%.
Additional money generated by the red-dye fuel tax would go into a fund specifically for fixing rural roads and bridges.
The next step will involve Trombino gauging public support for the proposals with groups such as the Iowa Farm Bureau. The group has already spoken out publicly against the red-dye fuel tax; it was part of a coalition that pushed for a three-year, 10-cent fuel tax increase in the previous legislative session.
Gov. Branstad has not publicly endorsed any of the proposals.