The search is on for road dollars in Iowa

| 8/20/2007

With the increased urgency many states have to address concerns about bridge conditions after the deadly Minneapolis bridge collapse earlier this month, key legislative leaders in Iowa are re-examining a shortfall in construction funds.

Gov. Chet Culver and others are trying to shore up money for road and bridge repairs. To expedite the process, an interim committee will gather this fall to study transportation funding. The panel was created after the Iowa Department of Transportation revealed that state, city and county roads are staring at a $28 billion shortfall for road and bridge work during the next two decades.

Officials with the Iowa DOT say the state needs $200 million more per year to keep up with transportation needs, The Des Moines Register reported. The added revenue would amount to an extra 9 cents per gallon collected on the state’s fuel taxes. Other options include boosting vehicle registration and driver’s license fees and stiffer fines for overweight trucks.

To make matters worse, funding aid from the federal government is cloudy. The U.S. Department of Transportation has announced it may cut funding to states.

Culver is expected to have a funding plan at the ready to present to the Legislature when it convenes the 2008 regular session.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Iowa in 2007, click here.