Governor Branstad says it’s too soon to voice support or opposition to an increase in the state gasoline tax.
An Iowa leader in the Tea Party movement has launched a Facebook page to build a network of opponents to a gas tax hike. Branstad says the Tea Party activists should wait for the report from the commission he appointed to study the issue.
“I think it is premature to take a stand on something until you know all the information and until the report’s available,” Branstad says, “so I’d certainly encourage legislators not to stake out a position before they know all the facts.”
Branstad says as vehicles become more fuel efficient, there’s been a decline in the amount of gas taxes collected to finance repair and construction of the state’s transportation network.
“We need to make sure that the users pay the costs of maintainance and the improvements that need to be made,” Branstad says. “And we’re hearing from the counties and cities as well as the state that there are some needs out there.”
Branstad made his comments during his weekly news conference at the statehouse.
Iowa Tea Party activist Ryan Rhodes, the man who started the anti-gas-tax-hike page on Facebook, was not immediately available for comment.