Tom Warne Report, 10 February 2012
Plans to increase the Iowa gas tax by 5 cents in January is moving forward with this week’s unanimous approval by a Senate subcommittee. The tax would increase again by five cents a year later. The tax has remained unchanged since 1989, which advocates say has led to the deterioration of state roads and bridges. A report by Transportation for America released in October said nearly 22 percent of Iowa bridges are classified as deficient, the third worst in the nation (surpassed only by Oklahoma and Pennsylvania).
“As much as I do not like the tax increase, I feel it’s imperative that we have to take a look at this at this time,” said Sen. Tim Kapucian, R-Keystone and one of the three members of the Senate Transportation Committee.
A citizen’s advisory committee appointed by Gov. Terry Branstad recommended similar increases to help cover a $215 million shortfall in transportation funding. The governor has eased his anti-tax-increase stance, now saying he would be open to the idea as long as it did not take effect before the upcoming fiscal year beginning July 1.