DES MOINES, Iowa–Monday morning, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad gave his strongest support yet to increasing the fuel tax. But moments later, he nuanced that support.
When asked by a reporter, “If the house and senate both vote on the bills the way they are, would you sign it?” Branstad responded, “Yes.”
The house and senate are looking at identical bills that would raise the current fuel tax a dime per gallon.
But in a later reply in his weekly news conference, Branstad phrased his words differently. He said, “What I’m saying is what I do support is providing additional funding for the road use tax fund. And we’ve been working in conjunction with the house and senate to get it,” Branstad said.
He added, “I never make a final decision on bills until I receive them.”
Lawmakers have discussed raising the state’s fuel tax from its current 21 cents per gallon level. That could provide $215 million per year for the state’s crumbling infrastructure. Although, state experts figure that will decline in future years as vehicles continue to become more fuel-efficient.
Groups like the Americans for Prosperity are pushing hard against the idea, saying while the state’s roads and bridges need more financial assistance, lawmakers should use money from existing funds, rather than raise taxes.