Forget potholes, it’s the looming “transportation cliff” in federal highway funding that makes a state motor fuel tax increase inevitable, a key player in that debate said last week.
“That was a real eye-opener. Pretty sobering,” House Transportation Committee Chairman Josh Byrnes, R-Osage, said about projections of a 77 percent decline in federal highway funding in 2015.
Iowa Department of Transportation Director Paul Trombino III has been making the rounds at the Legislature to warn lawmakers that the state’s $215 million shortfall in funding to meet current “critical needs” will be compounded by the decrease in federal funds.
Although Trombino did not advocate for increasing the state fuel tax, Brynes said the director “gave us compelling evidence how necessary an increase is.”
“We won’t bite this off in one year,” he said, “but when you look at the numbers, it’s got to be inevitable.”
Do you agree? Would the “transportation cliff” essentially require the state to consider a motor fuel tax increase?