Supervisors support increased state funding for transportation

The Greene County board of supervisors at its regular meeting Jan. 22 unanimously approved a resolution supporting “a long-term, sustainable transportation funding solution” to address critical infrastructure needs in Iowa.

The resolution does not specify an increase in the fuel tax as a way to increase funding, but many organizations, including the Iowa County Engineers Association, the Iowa Good Roads Association, and the Iowa Trucking Association support an increase.

Greene County engineer Wade Weiss told the supervisors Thursday that a 10-cent per gallon increase in the state fuel tax would increase Greene County’s road maintenance budget by $497,763 per year, “which would be wonderful,” he said. That amount is currently just more than $2.8 million.

It would also increase the farm-to-market construction budget $154,709. That allocation is currently $777,862, bringing the farm-to-market budget close to $1 million per year.

To illustrate the cost of construction, Weiss said bridge work on County Road N-65 over the Raccoon River in Kendrick Township next year will cost $1.7 million. He said work on the river bridge on County Road P-14 just south of Highway 30 is also needed, and he expects the county will be involved in funding work on the bridge near Daubendiek Park in Jefferson, as that’s also a farm-to-market route.

The resolution, which will be sent to the Iowa legislature, points out that the 2008 TIME-21 study showed that under the current funding structure and highway usage, more than 20 percent of the travel done in Iowa is by out-of-state drivers, while they generate only 13 percent of the state’s road use revenues.

The resolution also states that the 2011 2011 Governor’s Transportation 2020 Citizen Advisory Council report identified a need for at least $215 million per year of increased funding over the next 20 years to meet critical infrastructure needs. That is in addition to current funding levels.

There has been much speculation that the lower price of gasoline may make an increase in the fuel tax more palatable to legislators than in previous sessions. “I think we have a good chance of something happening this year,” Weiss told the supervisors. “It would sure help us out. We’ve put off a lot of things.”

The complete resolution is included in the draft minutes of the Jan. 22 meeting, posted under the Calendar/Agenda tab on GreeneCountyNewsOnline.

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