Iowa might have taken a step closer towards passing legislature that would gradually increase the state gas tax 10 cents, but the governor is keeping the issue at arm’s length.
A House subcommittee approved the bill on Jan. 29, and now attention shifts to the full Transportation Committee. Meanwhile, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad refused to endorse such a move in front of a crowd of about 100 people at the Capitol rotunda during Transportation Day.
“Just as there are different options to get from Des Moines to Dubuque or Des Moines to some other place in Iowa,” there are other ways to finance road and bridge construction, he told the gathering, which included highway and construction groups.
House Bill 514 would raise the gas tax in phases: 3 cents on July 1, 2014, 3 cents on July 1, 2015, and 4 cents on July 1, 2016. It would generate about $215 million annually for road and bridgework.
Rep. Joshua Byrnes (R-Osage) said more money for infrastructure is badly needed across the state.
“I have bridges in my district built in 1907, transporting a bus of kids over that,” he said. “The fuel tax is better for the taxpayer because we’re letting out-of-state drivers to pay for it.”