Branstad Signs 10 Cent Gas Tax

Branstad Signs 10 Cent Gas Tax – Des Moines Register

by: William Petroski

 

It’s official: Iowa’s gas tax is going up.

Gov. Terry Branstad signed a bill on Wednesday raising the state’s gasoline and diesel fuel taxes by 10 cents a gallon.

The bill passed the Iowa House and Senate on Tuesday after legislative leaders from both parties worked with the Republican governor to reach a consensus on a funding package to provide an additional $215 million annually for city, county and state roads.

Branstad received Senate File 257 in his Iowa Capitol office on Wednesday morning and immediately signed it.

“This is a great example, on a difficult and controversial issue, of the kind of bipartisan cooperation that really makes Iowa stand out as a state where we work together and we get things done on behalf of the citizens of our state,” Branstad said. “This is important for economic development. This is important for our farmers to be able to get their crops to market. I know that many people have been waiting a long time for this.” The last gas tax increase was in 1989.

Branstad pointed out the fuel tax increase has had broad support from groups like the Iowa Farm Bureau, Chambers of Commerce and other business groups, and Iowa’s trucking industry. He noted the bill also imposes restrictions on future debt and bonding for local government road projects. That’s important, he said, explaining he believes in a “pay-as-you-go” method of financing road construction with user fees that benefit people who pay the extra fuel tax.

The tax increase will go into effect at the pump on Sunday, March 1. Branstad said he wants to begin collecting the additional tax now to permit cities, counties and the state to advance their schedules for badly needed work on roads and bridges.

One road project that could be accelerated because of the additional gas tax revenue, the governor said, is the expansion of U.S. Highway 20 in northwest Iowa from two lanes to four lanes. The Iowa Department of Transportation is currently working on a section of U.S. 20 between Moville and Correctionville, leaving a 37-mile stretch between Correctionville and Early. Once the final piece is completed, U.S. Highway 20 will be a four-lane expressway from Sioux City to Dubuque.