Governor Branstad is urging an eastern Iowa town not to violate the spirit of the state’s new law raising the gas tax by ten cents a gallon.
The city of Clinton’s share of the new revenue is 470-thousand dollars, and the city council proposes spending more than half of that to hire new employees whose work would include street repair.
Lawmakers in both the House and Senate say the money should go directly into infrastructure, and Branstad agrees.
“I think it would be a mistake to use this additional money that was supposed to go for roads and bridges to hire more staff,” Branstad says.
A Department of Transportation spokeswoman says the agency encourages local governments to use the money for infrastructure needs, but it’s a local decision. But the DOT commissioner from Clinton opposes the city proposal.
“I agree with David Rose who is on the DOT commission from Clinton,” Branstad says.
But the governor is defending plans to widen highway 20 in western Iowa using new gas tax revenue. An organization known as Iowans for Tax Relief says Iowans who supported the higher tax expect the money to be used to repair crumbling roads and bridges, not buy up land for new roads.