Plan to increase fuel tax by 10 cents is quickly moving ahead in Iowa Legislature

A plan to hike the state's fuel tax by 10 cents kept moving quickly through the Iowa Legislature on Tuesday.

A Senate Committee backed the bill in a 9-3 vote. The 10-cent increase would provide about $215 million annually for the state's network of bridges and roads, many of which are in disrepair.

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Similar proposals have failed to advance in past years, but Gov. Terry Branstad and legislative leaders have been vocal this year about raising money for infrastructure. The Senate bill now moves to another committee. A similar effort is moving through the House.

Sen. Tod Bowman, D-Maquoketa, said he is optimistic the bill will win final passage.

"I'm hopeful Iowans will be glad we're taking care of the roads and bridges that are deteriorating," he said.

Iowa's fuel tax is now 22 cents per gallon for gasoline, including fees. Diesel fuel has a slightly higher tax and ethanol blends are a bit lower. The tax hasn't been raised since 1989.

Organizations advocating for construction companies and truck drivers are backing the legislation. But anti-tax groups have questioned the plan, along with an organization speaking on behalf of truck stops.