Governor Terry Branstad said fixing Iowa’s roads is a top priority in an interview last Thursday.
He went on to say he is hoping to reach bipartisan consensus, since that is the reason the legislature has failed to compromise on the issue in recent years.
The Republican governor said the timing was good to start this conversation since the gas prices have “dropped significantly,” but also that he is hoping to find a new way of raising funds that is “not just the old gas tax.”
Two proposals have already been considered, one calling for an increase in the fuel tax, which hasn’t been raised in the last 25 years, by 10 cents per gallon over the next three years.
The second option, called the “hybrid approach” suggests decreasing the gas tax by 5 cents per gallon, but adding a 5 cent sales tax to fuel, which would be a long term solution, since the fee could adjust with the inflation. However, Governor Branstad did not back any specific plans but said that he is open to raising the state’s fuel tax.
According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, 46 percent of major roads are in poor or mediocre quality, which costs Iowa motorists $756 million a year extra in vehicle repairs and operating costs, approximately $381 per motorist.