The Highway 61 Coalition is again asking for your support in advocating the completion of Iowa US 61 as a four lane corridor from Keokuk to Dubuque, Iowa. Our focus is on the 29 plus miles of two-lane corridor remaining in Des Moines and Louisa Counties. Prioritizing highway transportation funding, at both the federal and state levels, has never been more difficult. Iowa ranks among the top 10 states in percentage of GDP from manufacturing. Our ability to sustain and grow our agricultural-driven industry is at stake. The Highway 61 Coalition, an association of leaders from City, County, Chamber and area industries, sent delegates to Des Moines on 29 January at the beginning of this year - to attend an Iowa DOT Legislative Reception in the Capitol rotunda. The purpose was to voice support for funding measures necessary to build and maintain Iowa’s roadways. Delegates also attended from US 20, US 30, US 34 South 63, East Central and Southwest Iowa coalitions/associations. Iowa DOT staff members, including officials representing the Associated General Contractors of Iowa, Iowa Concrete Paving Association, Iowa Asphalt Paving Association, Iowa County Engineer Services Bureau, Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa Public Works Association and Iowa Good Roads and Motor Truck Association, addressed the group. We then met with our respective area legislators – asking for their support. The Iowa Department of Transportation (Iowa DOT) is responsible for day-to-day maintenance of our primary highway system which consists of Interstate Highways, U.S. Highways and Iowa State highways. It is the U.S. Highway and Interstate Highway systems that connect Iowa to the rest of the Nation. The State of Iowa collects and deposits, into the Iowa Road Use Tax Fund, or RUTF, 22 cents per gallon on gasoline and 23.5 cents per gallon on diesel. National state average, state plus local taxes, is 31.5 cents/gas and 31 cents/diesel per gallon [or 9.5/gas and 7.5/diesel cents greater than Iowa]. Typically, states with higher populations also have higher taxes (California starting at 52.9/gas and 49.6/diesel per gallon). The Iowa Public Roads System which consists of over 114,000 miles of highways, is crumbling. The quality of life of our communities and the farmsteads along the eastern boarder of Iowa, are in jeopardy. Keeping up (indexing taxes to keep pace with inflation) would have been much easier and less costly than catching up. Please give serious consideration in joining or renewing your membership, in the Highway 61 Coalition. The 2014 dues Structure is enclosed for your consideration.
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