Governor Branstad says he has not made a decision yet on recommendation from a commission he appointed to raise the state gas tax by 10-cents to pay for road construction.
Branstad says it’s still premature to be talking about the increase and says he appointed the task force to look at the needs for not just the state — but for counties and cities — to find the best way to deal with the issue. Branstad says the Transportation Commission must still look at the issue and make recommendations to the administration and the legislature. He says the task force approach is to raise the tax so the state gets the most out of the transportation money.
Branstad says from what he understands, the task force is saying a lot of other states are borrowing money to make road repairs and it costs them more money. He says those states are using the gas tax to pay the debt and are “getting nothing to maintain and improve the roads.”
Branstad says Iowa has always been a “pay as you go” state, and that will be the issue when they make a decision on the gas tax for road repairs.He says they will evaluate the gas tax and look at the needs for roads, and also the impact on the consumers that use the highways.
Branstad says he does think the road repairs should be paid for by the consumers who use the highways and it would be “a tragic mistake” to borrow money to fix the roads like the federal government wants to do. Branstad says the federal government is deep in debt and the last thing it needs to do is to borrow more money.