Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad believes his state will have enough money to fund its transportation construction needs through 2012. State legislators, however, have a different take.
Sen. Matt McCoy (D-Des Moines) is leading a bipartisan group that plans on proposing a 5-cent gas-tax increase beginning in 2013. The provision, expected to be introduced on Jan. 9, also will raise the fee another nickel in 2014, and many believe it could reach the governor’s desk soon.
Branstad is not commenting on the proposed tax increase, and instead has asked the Iowa Department of Transportation to find an additional $50 million in cost savings. Favorable bid prices, budget savings and federal funding are supposed to provide the state with an extra $128 million for road and bridge projects in 2012, according to Branstad.
“We’re going to be able to have one of the most robust road-building programs for this coming year that we have ever had,” he said.
Branstad also supports using revenue generated by traffic-monitoring cameras to be injected into Iowa’s road use tax fund, and expects a phased increase in the highway user fee to help cover a projected $200 million annual funding shortfall.