(Des Moines) Nearly half of Iowa roads are in poor shape and 23-percent of Iowa bridges are considered to be functionally obsolete according to a study from the transportation research group.
The study says much of the money spent on roads over the years in Iowa has been spent on new roads instead of fixing existing roads, which has led to urban sprawl around cities.
Stu Andersen, Director of the Iowa D-O-T planning Department, says what the state needs is an increase in the gas tax.
“What our estimate is here in Iowa is that our public roadway system requires an additional $215 million of funding each and every year, to address just those most critical needs that exist on the roadway system.”
The state’s gas tax was last adjusted in 1989 and efforts to raise the tax this past session fell flat. In Andersen’s opinion, the legislature’s funding method of spending a lot of one year and belt-tightening the next isn’t working.
“These individual years of high investment won’t be able to move the overall system conditions that much, just because we have such a large infrastructure system in the state.”
He says vehicle travel on Iowa highways has increased by 36-percent since 1990, while the state’s population has grown only 1-percent. The report from TRIP finds that poor road conditions are a factor in one-third of all traffic deaths in Iowa.
Iowa News Service
July 31, 2013