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Reader Expresses Support For Gas Tax Hike

March 5, 2015
Emmetsburg News

To the Editor:

I was relieved and very pleased with the recent approval of an increase in our state gas tax. I, like most any other motorist, like to fill my tank for the lowest price possible. However, I also want my family, friends, and myself driving on safe roads and bridges, and our transportation infrastructure has been deteriorating for several years. There is no quick fix to the issue of an inferior road system, so it is imperative we do not delay any longer in rectifying the situation.

I had the opportunity to visit my father's birthplace in Argentina a couple of years ago, and I was struck by both the beauty and potential of the land, and how a once impressive infrastructure had crumbled. I firmly believe that one of the things that has made our nation great is the investment in infrastructure made in past years by our forefathers, and that a society that wishes to remain strong and vibrant must continue to invest in its future. It takes a strong economy to support the various programs within our state budget, and an economy without the ability to generate revenue hurts everyone.

Since our fuel tax is a fixed rate per gallon, in real terms the tax has declined through the years since it was last increased. In the 1980s, the last time the fuel tax was significantly increased, diesel fuel going into our road construction equipment was purchased for less than $1 per gallon, often much less. This has placed a serious crimp in the amount of work that could be done with the available tax revenues in recent years, as diesel prices climbed above $3/gallon. Although fuel prices have retreated somewhat recently, we have a lot of "catch up" to do, and off road diesel (like that used in construction) still costs 3 to 4 times what it did during the bulk of the 1980's. Other maintenance and construction costs have also increased significantly.

Our local representatives, state Sen. David Johnson and Rep. Megan (Hess) Jones, deserve kudos for their foresight and political courage in supporting the fuel tax increase.


(signed) Fred Wirtz

West Bend, IA



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