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UNSAFE BRIDGES: “The State’s Greatest Concern”

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The head of the Iowa House Transportation Committee says one of the state’s greatest concerns is bridge infrastructure.

A bridge in Guthrie Center collapsed Friday under the weight of a crossing tractor. Iowa ranks third in the nation for the most structurally deficient bridges. The average unsafe bridge is 69 years old.

State representative Josh Byrnes says the problem is a lack of state funding. He says the way to rebuild old bridges is to propose a fuel tax on state roadways.

“You’re actually collecting money from the people that use the roads. It’s the truest user fee. You actually get people from out of state that you’re collecting that user fee from because they stop in Iowa the fill up with gas.”

Byrnes says the state would need about 225-million dollars to keep up with bridge infrastructure projects.


  • Holly Johnson

    Well if nearly $600,000.00 was spent in “hush money” from supposed accounts that didn’t need funding, there must be more somewhere! Heck, I’ve got an idea. Let’s get rid of Brandstad. He doesn’t even have any idea what his staff is spending money on! So he says. Then let’s throw his lying staff out too. That should be a good start of monies to fix Iowa bridges instead of paying a bunch of worthless crooks. How he was ever re-elected is beyond me!

    • Scott

      Do you have any concept of numbers and just how large the difference between $600k and $225mil. is? let me help you:


      Put another way, $600k fits neatly into $225 mil. 375 TIMES! I’m not saying the whole hush money issue was acceptable by any means, but really, try to make your comments at least a little realistic and relevant.

  • Holly Johnson

    Yes. I’m well aware of that fact. That’s why I stated it would be a start if you included the incomes of Brandstad and his staff. Note the word START. You can’t get to 225 million if you don’t START somewhere. So what if I’m being a bit unrealistic or maybe even funny trying to poke at Brandstad.

  • William Denison

    State representative Josh Byrnes (R) goes right for rasing the gas tax.Just like his daddy Branstad would want. Saying people from out of state will be the ones paying the tax. I guess we Iowans cars run on hot air. How about growing and or selling a plant we Iowans want and have no prolems paying a higher tax for? The state folks can use all the gas tax money for lining their pockets or hush money or NASCAR tracks or whatever.Its a win win. Its really getting hard to drive to Denver for a bong rip…..just sayin

  • Mike D

    Ever wonder why big trucks carry such big fuel tanks ? It’s not all because they burn so much of it,,( big rigs get better mpg than your RV or pick up going down the road. The advantage is that they can optimize expenses like by passing states with high fuel costs..
    Fuel taxes should be used for roads and bridges alright,,but not trails, museums , mass transit subsidies or fother transportation expenses.
    The bridge in question that fell, was overloaded by 41,000 lbs, by a vehicle that pays no road tax at all . Say no to fuel taxes..

  • Jason

    Channel 13 missing the boat again. This isn’t an issue of a bridge being unsafe. This is an issue of a guy driving his JD Tractor, tiller, and anhydrous tanks across a bridge in spite of being well in excess of weight limits. I suspect either he or his insurance company will be footing the bill for this one.

    The fact is that between income tax, sales tax, FICA, fuel tax, property tax, sin tax, estate tax, capital gains tax, and any other tax that these guys can think up, we are taxed enough. When is it enough? I crossed that threshold when I realize that I give over half of my income to some form of tax or another.

    Perhaps we should start by holding those accountable for the tax revenues that they currently take in before allowing them to increase taxes yet again. There are so many “wants” we are funding (i.e. bike trails, electronic billboards for the IDOT, and the list goes on and on), while we continue to neglect spending on the very things that we NEED….the things that government is supposed to provide and maintain.

    • Scott

      Reall intelligent post and I think you hit the nail right on the head. The only question I would have for you is, what do you consider needs that the government should provide?

  • Jason

    I think just like a household budget that you or I manage, they have to ask the question…is this something that you or I need, or is it something that we want?

    They have to get out of the revenue forecasting business (i.e. Honey Creek Resort will provide $X in revenue, or bike trails will provide $X in revenue). Let’s face it, if there were a signficant amount of money to be made, private industry would likely already invested in it. Government is not known for it’s investing ability…let alone its ability to gamble on horses.

    Do we need bridges and roads? Yes. Do we need lighted streets? Yes. Do we need public defense and a trial system? Yes.

    Do we need cameras on the freeway to tell us what the weather is? No. Do we need bike trails? No. Do we need IDOT electronic billboards that tell us that drinking and driving and not wearing a seatbelt is bad? No.

    I’m probably just old fashioned…but it seems like we aren’t asking the right questions.

  • Vic

    “Implements of husbandry” like the tractor in this story are exempt from weight limits on bridges. Maybe that had something to do with this bridge collapse. As for increasing the gas tax to pay for bridges destroyed by overweight “Implements of husbandry,” you need to remember that most of them are exempt from fuel taxes.

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