Construction industry leaders are calling for an increase in state and federal gasoline taxes to pay for more road and bridge building. Andrew Goodman, president of the Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association, says our transportation infrastructure is falling apart and gas tax hikes would fuel rebuilding.
“We have increasing traffic across the state and increasing load sizes over the last 50 years since there were major improvements in the infrastructure,” Goodman says. “We need to get back in and reinvest and rebuild the infrastructure so that our economy can not only survive but can grow and can prosper.”
The federal gas tax is about 18-and-a-half-cents per gallon and hasn’t been raised since 1993. The head of a national group that represents construction equipment manufacturers agrees the gas taxes need to be raised. Toby Mack is president of Associated Equipment Distributors.
“Our industry is in a literal depression. The rest of industry seems to be on a recovery path. We are not. We are clearly — still — in the very depths of it,” Mack says. “Our industry has lost something like 37 percent of its workforce over the last two years.”
Other construction industry leaders say many firms are reluctant to make big investments in equipment because they’re not sure government financing of road and bridge construction will be steady over the long-term.