Despite opposition from Governor Culver, a bill to raise the state gas tax by eight cents a gallon is under consideration in the Iowa Senate.
Senator Tom Rielly, a Democrat from Oskaloosa, says the state needs a gas tax hike to help pay for billions of dollars in road construction over the next 20 years. "This is the very start of this process We’d like the process to work through," Reilly says. "But I also think we need to keep in mind the entire scope of what our problem is."
An eight-cent increase in the gas tax would bring in an estimated $160 million a year. "We also have to keep in mind the total problem we’re facing here. The total problem is $29 billion. That’s what we should be putting into our roads and bridges over the next 20 years," Reilly says. "We’re just scratching the surface here of what we’re trying to do."
The state’s construction industry and labor groups have lined up behind the proposed increase. Iowans for Tax Relief opposes it.