Humboldt Supervisors support fuel tax increase

DAKOTA CITY – The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution calling for an increase in the state’s fuel tax Monday.

The Iowa Association of County Supervisors is circulating a resolution asking for support to increase the fuel tax, which has not increased significantly since 1989. The tax is an integral part of Iowa’s Road Use Tax Fund.

The resolution calls for an across the board increase in Iowa’s fuel tax rates by 10 cents a gallon over a period of at least three years, resulting in an estimated $184 million to $230 million of additional income.

Also called for is an increase in the fee for new registration from 5 percent to 6 percent, raising this fee to a level consistent with the state sales tax, resulting in an estimated $50 million of additional revenue.

According to the resolution, several studies over the past 10 years identified the need to significantly increase the amount of funding for the road system. A 2008 study showed more than 20 percent of the travel done in Iowa is by out of state drivers while only 13 percent of the state’s road use revenues come out of state drivers.

The 2011 Governor’s Transportation 2020 Citizen Advisory Council report to Governor Branstad and the Iowa Legislature identified the need for $125 million per year of increased funding over the next 20 years, in addition to the funding being provided by the TIME-21 revenues, just to meet the most critical needs of our transportation infrastructure, according to the resolution.

County Auditor Peggy Rice said the resolution is supported by the Iowa State Association of Counties.

Supervisor Carl Mattes said the increase is gaining popularity.

“I don’t know if it will get up to a vote or not but there is a lot of support for a user fee. If it will ever happen I don’t know but I think we need to do everything we can to keep that before the public. I know you don’t like to raise taxes but you don’t like having bridges and roads fall apart either,” he said.

Supervisor Rick Pedersen said the governor spoke on other options to increasing the fuel tax at a meeting at the Statehouse last week.

The other options would require more personnel and greater cost, said Supervisor Jerry Haverly.

“We know how to collect it with state road use tax and that’s the way it should be done,” he said. “It’s a function we are already doing.”

The board unanimously approved the resolution.