January 25, 2016
Winnebago County Benefits from 10 Cent Fuel Tax Increase
Nearly 17 miles of pavement and 5 bridges are scheduled for reconstruction this summer in Winnebago County. R34 north from Thompson and west on A16 to the County Line will be resurfaced for the first time since 1998. The projects are not entirely funded by last year’s 10 cent fuel tax increase, but the additional revenue made it possible to be more aggressive with scheduling and add more projects to the County 5-year Construction Program. Last year about this time, the state of Iowa was buzzing over a legislative initiative to raise the state fuel tax by 10 cents. With mixed support, a bill was passed in February and the state began collecting an additional dime per gallon on March 1st.
For Winnebago County, the fuel tax increase was encouraging as we struggle to maintain our roads, culverts, and bridges on top of every day operations. Winnebago County will receive an additional $450,000 to the Secondary Road Fund (SRF) and Farm-to-Market (FM) account each year based on current projections. That’s a lot of money right? It certainly helps, but since 2000, Iowa construction prices have skyrocketed 138% compared to the 38% U.S. inflation rate. When a bridge replacement claims between $100,000 and $500,000 and a mile of resurfacing pulls a price tag near $300,000, the budget remains a balancing act.
On the bright side, it appears that the level of service provided by the Road Department is safe for the time being and the construction outlook is more promising. But this is no time to be complacent. Our pavements are aging rapidly and even after nearly 50 bridge replacements in the last 7 years, Winnebago County remains home to more than 30 weight-restricted bridges. The Winnebago County Road Department is thankful for the support from the public and will continue to be effective stewards of our residents.
Scott Meinders, County Engineer
Winnebago County Road Department