ROADS/BRIDGES: Iowa passes increase in gas tax

Pending governor signature, measure will help address $215 million funding gap

News February 25, 2015
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Iowa’s state legislature might have been sharply divided over a proposed gas-tax increase, but on Feb. 24 the bill knifed its way through the House and Senate.
 
It’s now up to Gov. Terry Branstad to sign it into law. The measure will increase the state gas tax 10 cents a gallon, and will help address Iowa’s $215 million transportation funding shortfall.
 
When arguing for the bill on the Senate floor, Sen. Tod Bowman, chairman of the chamber’s Transportation Committee, said, “we can’t continue to kick this can down the road.”
 
But a group of Republicans did not want motorists to foot the bill.
 
“Something seems suspiciously wrong,” said Rep. Greg Heartsill. “It’s almost as if it has been choreographed. Because of the way this bill has been rammed through, there’s an odiferous cloud that will hang over the legislature long after this vote.”
 
Rep. Chip Baltimore was the only representative to abstain from the voting. “I refuse to legitimize either the bill or the process with a vote.”
 
Iowa, however, has a legitimate concern when it comes to its network of roads and bridges. Federal data shows 27% of Iowa’s major urban roads and highways are in poor condition.

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