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As traffic on Iowa roads increases, DOT sees positive revenue trend

As traffic on Iowa roads increases, DOT sees positive revenue trend

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Road Use Tax Fund (RUTF) distributions this month were down from July 2020, but state transportation officials see a positive trend line for revenues that support Iowa’s roads and streets.

The distributions made at the beginning of the month were $10.3 million less than the July 2020 distributions, but year-to-date distributions are $24.5 million higher than in the previous fiscal year, according to a report from the Legislative Services Agency.

The receipts vary month-to-month, typically because of the timing of deposits, said Stuart Anderson, director of the DOT Transportation Development Division.

“However, the overall trend in state road funding is very positive for Iowa,” he said.

Nearly 95% of funding allocated to the RUTF is through fuel taxes, annual registration fees and new registration fees.

“The diversity of the user fees into the RUTF has served Iowa very well through this pandemic compared to other states that rely much more on just state fuel tax revenue,” Anderson said.

Compared to August 2020, fuel taxes decreased by $14.6 million, vehicle registration revenues increased by $2.2 million, fees for new registrations increased by $4.3 million, and truck registrations decreased by $1.8 million, the Legislative Services Agency reported.

In July, the state allocated $132.6 million of RUTF receipts to a variety of funds. That included $54.6 million for primary roads, $28.2 million for secondary roads, $9.2 million for farm-to-market roads and $23 million for cities.

Travel on Iowa’s transportation system has increased as COVID-19 concerns have lessened, but haven’t returned to pre-pandemic levels, according to the DOT. June 2021 traffic volume was up 14.3% from June 2020, but trailed June 2019 volume by 0.7%. Year-to-date traffic volume is 13.8% higher than 2020, but down 2.1% from 2019.

The total vehicle miles driven in June 2021 was nearly 3.1 billion compared to 2.7 billion last year and 3.1 billion in June 2019, the DOT said.

Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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