The top Republican in the Iowa House predicts the 2014 legislature will take at least a small step toward raising more money for road and bridge construction projects. Iowa DOT officials have drafted a list of options that do not involve raising the state’s gas tax and House Speaker Kraig Paulsen says those ideas are being carefully reviewed.
“I’ll be surprised if nothing gets advanced, whether or not we reach consensus I don’t know, but I think there are some things on there that are interesting to folks,” Paulsen says. “I would be extremely surprised if they all got approved.”
Ending the tax break farmers get on so-called “red dyed” fuel that’s used in off-road vehicles like tractors and combines is on the list, but that’s getting a lot of push back. Paulsen says raising fees and permits for oversize and overweight trucks seems the most likely item on the list to get broad support in the legislature.
“If you’re looking at in particular more of a ‘user fee’ approach, there’s obviously a lot of out-of-state vehicles that use our highways and it would make sense that they plug in as well,” Paulsen says.
DOT officials estimate they’d collect an additional $10 million next year by raising fees on overweight and oversize trucks.