Lawmakers working to raise gas tax 10 cents - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Lawmakers working to raise gas tax 10 cents

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Iowa has more than 114,000 miles of road and 25,000 bridges.  Much of that infrastructure needs serious work done soon.

That's why some Iowa lawmakers are working on a bill that would raise the state's gas tax by 10 cents.  That money would help fill the $215 million funding gap for road repairs the state sees each year.

Sen. Tod Bowman, D-Maquoketa, is the chair of the Senate's Transportation Committee.  He said he has a draft of the bill "pretty much ready to go."  He said it should be introduced sometime in the upcoming weeks.

By comparison, Iowa's gas tax is pretty low.  It's nearly 9 cents cheaper than Illinois and close to 11 cents cheaper than Wisconsin.  The tax hike would put Iowa right in line with those neighbors and in line with the national average.

Bowman said another plus of the tax hike would be the revenue generated from non-Iowa citizens.

"Think of it as a user-fee.  The more we have people from out of state using gas in Iowa, the more money it brings in for the state," he said.

Currently, out of state drivers account for 20 percent of travel in Iowa, but only generate 13 percent of the revenue used for road repairs. 

Many opponents think Iowans are taxed enough, and the government should find the money somewhere else.

Iowans will be forced to pay more, that's for sure.  But how much?

A person who drives 15,000 miles a year in a vehicle that gets 25 miles to the gallon would pay an additional $60 per year.  A person that drives 30,000 miles a year in a car that gets 15 miles to the gallon would pay an additional $200 per year.


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