The Iowa Transportation Commission has approved the Fiscal Year (FY) 2013-17 Iowa Transportation Improvement Program. The program reflects Iowa’s multimodal transportation system through inclusion of investments in aviation, transit, railroads, trails and highways. The commission and the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) remain committed to providing modern, safe and efficient transportation services to the public.
A major component of the program is the highway section, which documents programmed investments in the Primary Highway System for the next five years. For FY 2013-17, approximately $2.6 billion is forecast to be available for highway right of way and construction.
The highway section was developed to achieve several objectives. The commission’s main investment objective is the modernization of Iowa’s existing highway system. Funding exceeding $1.3 billion is directly targeted for modernizing and maintaining the existing infrastructure. This includes increased investments targeted to improve bridge conditions statewide. This program includes almost $800 million of investments in Iowa’s state-owned bridges.
The highway section also includes significant interstate investments on I-29 in Sioux City and I-29/80/480 in Council Bluffs. While significant funds remain programmed for I-74 in Bettendorf/Davenport and development work on the project is continuing, the programming of funds for construction on the central section of I-74 has been delayed to coordinate schedules with the Illinois DOT.
Another highway programming objective is to add capacity and make system enhancements.
A sizable part of funding available for highway programming comes from the federal government. Accurately estimating future federal funding levels is dependent on having a current, enacted multiyear federal transportation authorization. The most recent authorization, titled “Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users,” expired Sept. 30, 2009; to date it has been extended nine times. The current extension will expire June 30, 2012. This leads to significant uncertainty in federal funding; however, the commission and Iowa DOT remain cautiously optimistic that federal funding will remain at or near current funding levels. The Iowa DOT and commission will continue to monitor federal revenues and adjust future investments as needed to maintain a fiscally responsible program.
As part of initiatives to assess road funding needs and potential revenue sources, Gov. Branstad directed the Iowa DOT to identify $50 million of efficiencies from Iowa’s Road Use Tax Fund (RUTF). With this program, the commission implemented $33 million of the efficiencies identified. Further legislative and Iowa DOT action is required to implement the remaining efficiencies.
The complete program is posted on the Iowa DOT’s website.