Iowa lawmakers reportedly examining road plan

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Iowa lawmakers are studying a plan to address a projected shortfall in road funds, the Des Moines Register reported recently. The plan includes increasing the state’s gas tax and licensing and registration fees to raise an extra $200 million by fiscal 2012.

The package is by the Associated General Contractors of Iowa, a road construction industry group. A joint House-Senate subcommittee has agreed to submit the plan to their caucuses for comment.

According to the Register, the proposal would increase the state’s gas tax by 4 cents a gallon and revise truck registration fees, including fees paid by owners of pickup trucks, to raise an additional $88 million per year. The current pickup fee, a flat $65 for many pickup trucks, has been criticized as unfair in comparison to higher fees paid by many car owners.

Under the proposal, all new noncommercial/nonfarm pickup trucks bought after Jan. 1, 2009, would pay registration fees based upon weight and value, similar to fees paid for personal automobiles. Other pickup trucks, including those for farm and business use, would be taxed at a flat rate based on gross weight and age; this would include $100 for a commercial/agriculturaluse pickup truck less than three tons that is 10 years old or newer.

The plan would also increase fees for driver’s licenses to $6.60 per year, up from $4.60. It would increase trailer registration fees, which have been $10 since 1997, to $20 for trailers not exceeding 2,000 pounds, and to $30 for larger trailers. Title fees would be increased from $10 to $20.