Greetings from under the dome,
This week the Senate Transportation Committee passed Senate Study Bill 3141, more commonly referred to as the Gas Tax Bill. The bill would increase Iowa fuel tax by five cents in 2013 and five more cents in 2014. The bill specifies that the money collected from this tax would go to the Transportation Infrastructure Moves the Economy into the 21st Century or TIME-21 fund, enacted in 2008 and the Road Use Tax Fund (RUTF), which is constitutionally protected in Iowa. That means these funds cannot be swept to other areas of the budge. They must be spent on roads and bridges.
In 2011, Iowa collected an estimated $430 million in motor fuel tax that was spent on roads and bridge repairs. Iowa ranks 31st in the nation in state highway performance and cost-effectiveness. Iowa also ranks low in rural road condition at 46th.
Iowa is the third worst state in America for structurally deficient bridges. Iowa has a high number of structurally deficient bridges with 5,371 scoring a "poor or worse" rating out of the 24,722 total bridges in the state. That means 21.7% of all Iowa bridges are deficient. Bridges have a 50 year lifespan and in Iowa, there are over 6,300 bridges 50 years or older.
SSB 3141 now sits on the Senate Calendar awaiting debate.
The House has a similar version of this bill waiting to go through the committee process.
The increase of taxes are never popular however I do believe we at least need to have the debate so we can look to our future infrastructure needs and address the problem.
Next week is already funnel week so all bills have to come out of committee in their respective chambers to remain alive for the year. I suspect we will be very busy with committees and sub-committees.
Keep in touch with your questions and concerns.
See you out and about the district.