Iowa may raise gas tax by $.05 per gallon - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa may raise gas tax by $.05 per gallon

by Brady Smith

IOWA CITY (KWWL) - For the first time in two decades, Iowans may actually see an increase in the state gas tax. It's a measure that's gaining support from both city and county road departments, but whether taxpayers will support it is in question.

The idea doesn't really bother Adam Turner, delivery driver for Falbo Bros. Pizza.

"I think the only thing that would really make it bad is if gas got back up to like three and a half bucks a gallon."

Turner says it would mean a slight increase in costs for Falbo Bros., which covers much of his gas for deliveries.

On the other hand, if a higher gas tax means more maintenance dollars for the brick-laden Iowa City streets, he won't complain.

"In the winter those can get pretty terrible," he said. "I don't know if it's harder to plow the brick because it's uneven or what the deal is, but those streets are by far the worst in the winter."

The longer the state waits, the more expensive road repairs will be, according to Rick Fosse, Director of Iowa City Public Works.

"Because the revenue source has been fixed for twenty years, and material costs have been going up, it's really cut into our ability to maintain the streets the way we'd like to."

Fosse says the city's $5.4 million-a-year road budget needs to expand, and with the relatively low fuel prices, now may be the best time for a tax hike.

"It's certainly something that might be more palatable at this time," he told us. "In the last five years alone, we've seen the price of sand double and the price of salt quadruple, and that takes a bite out of the money that's remaining to repair concrete and to repair asphalt."

The extra funds raised by an increase in the gas tax would go toward improving battered roads throughout the state.  More specifically, in Dubuque County the top priority roads would be county road Y-13, which runs from Holy Cross to Cascade, through Farley.  They'd also look at improving Mud Lake road in Northeast Dubuque County. 

Black Hawk county would improve the safety of the 218/Cedar Wapsy road interchange, as well as the Cedar River and Wolf Creek bridges on Brandon Road. 

Linn county would like to widen the bridges and improve the general quality of County Home Road and Blairs Fairy Road.  

Johnson county would make improvements on Highway 965 and Oak Crest Hills road.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

Online Producer - Dani Blecha

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