Gas tax hike is way overdue

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Senate Transportation Committee voted 9-3 to clear a 10-cent per gallon increase on Iowa's gasoline and diesel fuel taxes. The bill could go to the Senate floor as soon as next week.

There is certainly no question that Iowa's aging roads and bridges need repairs.

Iowa's gas tax was last raised in 1989. The current per gallon fuel tax rates are: 22.5 cents for diesel; 21 cents for regular gasoline; and 19 cents for ethanol-blended gasoline. Motorists also pay federal taxes on fuel.

If the gas tax increase is approved by the House and Senate, it will be sent to Gov. Terry Branstad, who has signaled he is likely to sign it.

The additional 10-cent tax would go into effect on the first day of the month after the governor approved the legislation.

One drawback to the gas tax legislation is that it does nothing to correct the current flawed distribution formula, which favors urban areas at the expense of rural areas.

Hopefully, that can be addressed at a later time.