Dwindling tax revenue for roads and increasing highway
construction costs could mean higher taxes at fuel pumps in Iowa.
The Iowa Legislative Services Agency reports that road-use
money is expected to reach $1.1 billion this fiscal year, which is about
$700,000 below last year. It is only the second time in a quarter century that
the road use tax fund faces a downturn in revenue, The Des Moines Register reported.
The decline in the fund is attributed to such factors as a
decrease in use tax revenues, which are collected on the purchase of cars and
trucks; and modest increases in fuel tax revenue and vehicle registration and
The funding problem is compounded by increased construction
costs, a decline in the rate of growth of federal and state highway dollars and
road building demands.
A 5-cent increase in the state's fuel tax would generate
$110 million annually, The Register reported.
Truckers in Iowa now pay state taxes of 22.5 cents per gallon
on diesel. Other drivers pay 21 cents per gallson for gasoline.
To make matters worse for the state, a new $2 billion,
five-year road construction program approved this month by the Iowa Department
of Transportation has projected costs that exceed revenues by $90 million.
State House Speaker-elect Patrick Murphy, D-Dubuque, said
that Democrats will likely discuss the road funding issue at a policy caucus