Steve Schulz
Steve Schulz
Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Carroll Area Development Corporation’s legislative agenda has in recent years called for an increase in the gas tax — linking higher funding for roads with prospects for the full four-laning of U.S. Highway 30.

CADC President Steve Schulz said the organization is fully behind proposals in the Legislature to increase the state’s fuel tax 8 to 10 cents a gallon.

“I can say I think with great confidence that there’s a strong consensus among CADC members that the gas tax needs to be addressed and we all know every year we put that off is another year we’re behind and another year where the roads deteriorate,” Schulz said. “I feel real confident that our board is behind this initiative 100 percent.”

An Iowa House panel this week passed a measure to increase the fuel tax by 4 cents in 2013 and 4 cents in 2014 — acknowledging the wishes of Gov. Terry Branstad who prefers to avoid a 2012 hike at the pumps. An Iowa Senate committee has signed off on a 10-cent hike.

Iowa’s fuel tax has been set at 21 cents a gallon since 1988.

The gas-tax increase, plus an increase in the tax for buying a new vehicle from 5 percent to 6 percent, would raise an additional $230 million annually for Iowa’s roads and bridges.

“I think there’s a lot of support statewide to improve our road system,” Schulz said. “I think we’ve all had the opportunity to see it deteriorate.”

Schulz said he knows through local economic-development activities that the four-lane highway issue is primary with business prospects. The U.S. Highway 30 Coalition of Iowa has ranked the 7-mile stretch from Carroll to Glidden as a priority for four-laning in what is expected to be a staged process involved such work on the full federal route through the Hawkeye State.

“Specific to Highway 30 it would be a real boost to the Highway 30 corridor to get that finished across the state,” Schulz said. “It’s a priority of ours for that main reason. It’s probably the most important piece of infrastructure that we can develop for Carroll County.”

Without a gas-tax increase the four-laning of U.S. 30 is “obviously stalled out,” Schulz said.

“I think its going to be difficult for us to maintain the current system we have if we don’t get some more money in the system and I’d be the first to say that we need to look at efficiencies at the Department of Transportation,” Schulz said. “With that said, just the efficiencies aren’t going to solve this problem.”