To the editor:
A recent letter to the editor by Gene Kutz of Manson asked some good questions regarding fuel taxes.
As one member of the Governor's Transportation 2020 Commission I felt I should provide some background which will answer some of his questions.
Currently, the gas tax (user fee) rate is $0.207 per gallon for gas; $0.19 per gallon for ethanol; and $.225 per gallon for diesel. These fuel tax rates have not been raised since 1989. We proposed that the Legislature consider increasing the fuel tax 8-10 cents a gallon, phased in over a two-year period.
In addition, the gas tax user fee that is collected is protected by the Iowa Constitution so that all funds raised must be spent on road related projects and not diverted to the state general fund.
The full commission report can be reviewed at (www.iowadot.gov/transportation2020).
We held public meetings across the state of Iowa last fall and more than 500 people attended them with 198 providing verbal or written comments.
Public comments demonstrated overwhelming support for increased funding for Iowa's roads. Results of the public input are as follow:
Sixty-four percent of responders were in favor of an increase in fuel tax.
More than one of five Iowa bridges is considered structurally deficient (third worst in the nation and almost double the national average).
A minimum of $215 million of revenue per year should be generated to meet Iowa's critical roadway needs - efficiency actions should be quantified, measured and reported to the public on a regular basis.
I hope this answers some of the questions Mr. Kutz asked and that your readers will take the time to read the final report and executive summary at the website listed above.