Gov. Branstad today gave his clearest signal to date that he is prepared to sign a gas tax increase into law.
The governor is urging state lawmakers to act sooner rather than later.
At his weekly news conference Branstad said if the current bill to immediately raise the tax by ten cents a gallon reaches his desk he will sign it.
Branstad says he started working on the issue at the very beginning of the session.
“As we went around the table at the meeting with leadership,” Branstad says, “there was bipartisan agreement among the leaders and our office that this was something to be done relatively early this session and not left to the end.”
Branstad says he wants the bill to be approved in a thoughtful deliberative way.
“It can get kind of crazy at the end of the session and we don't want that to happen,” Branstad says.
The bill is up for debate in House and Senate Transportation Committees this week.
Anti-tax groups and petroleum marketers are lobbying against the bill which would bring in 200 million dollars a year for road and bridge repair. Cities and counties, the Farm Bureau, and Chambers of Commerce have all signed on to a gas tax increase.
On today's River to River, host Katherine Perkins and Joyce Russell discuss the historical context of the gas tax and its chances this year. Jim Whitty, Manager of the Office of Innovative Partnerships and Alternative Funding at Oregon Department of Transportation, also joins the conversation.