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Government :: Committee assignments offer lessons on many topics of Iowa government
· 8:36am February 16th, 2013
One of the best parts of the state representative job is getting to learn about so many topics.
Check out the topics we addressed in committee work this week: Unemployment insurance benefits, Secondary roads, Campaign ethics complaints, 2 Photo ID for Voting meetings, Estate Recovery vs Pre-Need Burial Trusts, Local Option Sales Tax election notifications, Smart Planning principles, Golf carts on unincorporated community streets, new Department of Transportation technology, Fiber Optics and the Independent Rural Telephones, Special assessments by cities and counties and Pipeline Safety.
Not only those, but we debated: Misrepresenting yourself to receive unemployment benefits, law enforcement firing ranges, county attorneys & DHS in Juvenile Court, drainage districts and the Mental Health Transition Appropriation of a little over $11 ½ million dollars.
Since it’s my first year on the Transportation Committee, I’m learning all kinds of new things. It is all interesting to me, but you may find their presentations really interesting, so I will give you part of what we’ve heard this year.
Iowa’s Public Roadway System is made up of 114,740 miles and 24,799 bridges. There are over 4,000 rail miles in the Railway System. The state’s portion of the Roadway System includes 9,403 highway miles and 4,092 bridges. The county system has 89,911 road miles and 19,386 bridges. Cities have 14,804 miles of road and 1,111 bridges. Of the 4,092 state bridges, we have 125 that are structurally deficient. That has been reduced from 175 in the last 5 years.
Vehicle registration fees and the fuel tax make up the Road Use Tax Fund (RUTF). The RUTF is where the majority of the money that pays for the public roadway system comes from. It pays out according to a formula of 47.5% to the state, 32.5% to the counties and 20% to the cities. This fund is Constitutionally protected and lawmakers cannot take road money and pay for anything else but the roadway system.
The 2013 State RUTF (fuel tax and registration fees) is expected to come in at around $1.3 billion. Registrations had an increase several years ago, but the fuel tax has not increased since the late 1980s. An item to note is a mile of 4 lane highway costs an average of $4.5 million and a cloverleaf is around $8.5 million.
Also we learned that there will be a Federal Highway Trust Fund Fiscal Cliff beginning in 2015. At the national level, 10 years of money was borrowed to pay for projects in 2013 and 2014. In 2015, the money the state receives from the federal government will go from $506.9 million to a $246 million and will be a hole we will have to fill.
NEXT LEGISLATIVE COFFEES : Saturday, February 23rd , 10:00 a.m. Marengo Public Library and 1:30 Vinton City Hall. Hope you can make it!
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at 515-281-6879 which rings into my desk or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kapucian Korner: Debating allowable growth
Board of Supervisors minutes, Feb. 19