by James DeChene
According to the Des Moines Register a recent 10-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax hike is boosting Iowa road construction funds and hasn’t dampened motorists’ enthusiasm for driving, state records show.
Reports filed between April and July show that motor fuel tax collections totaled about $225 million, an increase of about $76 million over the same period last year, according to the Iowa Department of Revenue. Although the higher tax took effect March 1, reporting of the data lags by one month.
On Saturday, the statewide average cost of gasoline in Iowa was $2.46 per gallon for mid-grade fuel, which was 83 cents a gallon less than the $3.29 per gallon for the same date a year ago, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report, and the increased fuel tax revenue has enabled the Iowa DOT to add about $500 million worth of road projects to its five-year highway construction plan.
Delaware faces a $780 million funding shortfall over the next 6 years for planned DELDOT projects, and with gas prices currently low, and expected to stay low for the foreseeable future, the discussion should be started on what a gas tax increase would look like for Delaware. The Chamber position has been supportive of a gas tax as long as the proceeds are solely used for transportation infrastructure and if there are spending offsets to cover any additional revenues required.
James DeChene is the Chamber's Senior Vice President of Government Affairs.