Gas tax increase in the works? - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Gas tax increase in the works?


Iowa's roads and bridges are falling apart and now state leaders are looking for ways to pay for the repairs.

Governor Branstad's Transportation 2020 Advisory Commission met Wednesday night in Des Moines. The group is hosting a series of meetings to address the shortfall in funding for road construction.

One option that is being talked about is raising the state's gas tax. The State of Iowa last raised its gas tax in 1989 and it now stands at $0.22 a gallon. A proposal that's gaining momentum is to raise the gas tax an additional ten cents.

Right now the State of Iowa maintains 114,000 miles of roads. Over the years they have fallen into disrepair and the state doesn't have enough money to fix them all.

During a meeting in Des Moines the advisory commission met and got input from the public. A number of people say they support the tax increase because there isn't any other option.

"When you look at the fuel efficiencies of vehicles people are buying less, with the price of gas people are consuming less, you can't stay with a static amount on the tax and think that you can fix the roads because the cost of labor is going up the cost of materials is going up, construction cost are what they are," said Dallas County Supervisor, Mark Hanson.

Here in eastern Iowa we caught with a few drivers where opinions vary.

"I think if you need road improvements it's worthy," said Gary Vreeman, who was filling up at the Flying J Truck Stop in Elk Run Heights.

"We've got great roads and definitely no taxes ever, ever raise taxes," said Steve Fisher of Humboldt.

Fisher says Iowa's roads are in good shape and increasing taxes is not the answer.

"Were already taxed to death and high gas prices just isn't going to work. It's not going to stimulate the economy at all. So I'm very conservative on trying to cut costs where we can and I don't think raising taxes is a good idea," said Fisher.

After getting input, the Transportation Advisory Commission will put together a plan and make recommendations to the Iowa legislature in January.

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