The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


November 7, 2013

Out-of-state drivers should share the burden

We will keep an open mind on whatever package of road funding ideas the administration of Gov. Terry Branstad introduces during the next session of the Legislature.

But ...

One idea discussed in a (backslash) story from the Journal’s Des Moines bureau raised concerns for us. Under this proposal, farmers would lose the tax exemption on so-called red-dye fuel they use to operate equipment. Instead, the money would go into a new Modern Agriculture Infrastructure Fund for repair of rural roads and bridges.

The idea was included in a two-page memo about possibilities for road-and-bridge funding the Branstad administration shared with a select number of state lawmakers and lobbyists in advance of the 2014 legislative session.

Understandably, the proposal about red-dye fuel isn’t getting love from the Iowa Farm Bureau.

“The red dye, by definition, is used in vehicles that aren’t used on the roads,” Don Petersen, IFB’s director of government affairs, said in the story. “That’s not something that we could support. It goes against the idea of user fees, which is what we support.”

Our initial reaction was similarly negative. Here’s why:

Our hope is whatever, if any new ideas the Legislature embraces for providing additional transportation infrastructure money include more than just loss of tax exemptions and increased fees for Iowans.

In our minds, one of the biggest selling points to raising the gas tax (something we support) is the fact out-of-state users of roads and bridges in Iowa share the burden of generating more dollars for upkeep and new construction.

The transportation infrastructure challenges we face in Iowa are large and growing. According to the Department of Transportation, the annual deficit between road-and-bridge needs and the revenue available to meet them is almost $1.5 billion; for critical needs, more than $250 million.

An investment of more money for transportation infrastructure is essential to our state’s future. To this end, we welcome discussion - including creative, out-of-the-box thinking - of transportation needs.

In the end, however, we hope Iowans aren’t the only users of the state’s roads and bridges who will be asked for more. Out-of-state drivers should contribute, too.

Text Only
  • Letter to the Editor: Local firefighters' union speaks out on proposed contract

    Dear citizens/taxpayers of Clinton:
    The members of Local 609 feel that it is our duty to inform the citizens of Clinton that the article titled “‘Fair offer’ differences” in the April 9, 2014 edition of the Clinton Herald was full of inaccurate statements regarding our negotiated contract proposal with the city. These incorrect statements could impact the use of your city funds negatively and unduly influence our elected representatives. So, we would like to address these points, as follows:

    April 18, 2014

  • Local firefighters' union speaks out on proposed contract Dear citizens/taxpayers of Clinton: The members of Local 609 feel that it is our duty to inform the citizens of Clinton that the article titled "'Fair offer' differences" in the April 9, 2014 edition of the Clinton Herald was full of inaccurate state

    April 18, 2014

  • The lesson of 'Camp David' The line between determination and delusion can be obscure. Sometimes, the distinction emerges only in retrospect, like a Polaroid image slowly appearing. In other instances, the difference between productive grit and self-defeating obsession is an a

    April 18, 2014

  • Wild Rose avoids another distraction Several casino operators in the state of Iowa breathed a sigh of relief Thursday when the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission voted 4-1 to reject a casino in Cedar Rapids. Cedar Rapids is close enough to have a possible effect on Wild Rose Casino and R

    April 18, 2014

  • Youngquist photo World Book Night celebrated April 23 The Clinton Public Library children's department plans to start a Legos club this June. We would appreciate donations of new or used Legos bricks. Please, no Duplo bricks. Drop donations at the children's desk on the second floor of the library. Root

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Walter Williams mug Equality in discipline George Leef, director of research for the North Carolina-based John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, authored a Forbes op-ed article titled "Obama Administration Takes Groupthink To Absurd Lengths." The subtitle is "School Discipline

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Reader is grateful for Iowa-American Water's help I would like to take this opportunity to extend my sincere gratitude to Iowa-American Water Company and its hard-working professional crew. I was without water, due to frozen pipes, for almost seven weeks. Everyone went above and beyond to get my wat

    April 17, 2014

  • 'Case Day' inspires students to aim high There's an MRCTV video circulating on the Internet that features a man with a microphone asking college students in Washington, D.C., to name just one member of the United States Senate. At least half a dozen are stumped. When he asks how many senato

    April 16, 2014

  • 4-15-14 13-Photo, Masters Bubba more than local hero? AUGUSTA, Ga. -- He plays a sexy game of golf, owns two green jackets and -- in what constitutes a show of major respect in these parts --Bubba Watson made rabid Georgia Bulldog fans take a break from spring football to watch some golf this weekend. A

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • Leonard Pitts mug ...and this is Overkill News Network Enough, already. Please, for the love of Cronkite: Give us a break from the missing plane. Yes, we all wonder what happened to it. Yes, our hearts go out to the families seeking resolution. But really, CNN ... enough. Put your hands up and step away

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo


With the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission and the Clinton County Board of Supervisors discussing proposals to construct a new jail, do you think the time has come for Clinton County to construct such a facility?

     View Results