A federal study to change the way the country pays for highway construction will include drivers from Iowa. Professor Jon Kuhl, at the University of Iowa Public Policy Center, says gasoline taxes are no longer a reliable source of funding for the nation’s roadways.
"As of this year, it’s not generating sufficient revenue to cover expenditures at the federal level for highways," Kuhl said. "That situation is only going to get worse in the future." The gas tax is falling short for at least a couple of reasons.
Kuhl says there are more hybrids and other fuel-efficient vehicles on the roads, so gasoline tax collections are declining. A pilot project, involving six U.S. locations, will test getting rid of gasoline taxes and replacing them with fees based on how many miles a motorist travels. Drivers in nine eastern Iowa counties will help test a new GPS system which records how many miles they drive.
Kuhl says the GPS system would also record where a driver has traveled, so unlike gasoline taxes, road fees could be distributed based on where the driving has occurred. The UI Public Policy Center is soliciting Iowa drivers for the study.