ROADS/BRIDGES: Iowa plan flies in face of widespread pullback on spending

$700 million planned for 2015 is state record for highway projects

Funding News April 20, 2015
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In a marked counterpoint to the recent proliferation of states, counties and municipalities that have begun openly pulling on the transportation spending reins, the Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) has announced its intention to corral a 10-cents-per-gallon gas tax into a $700 million spend for construction on state and interstate highway projects.
 
Prior to the aforeplanned millions earmarked for 2015, the largest IDOT spend on road projects came in 2013, when spending reached $656 million, the relative success of which goaded the agency to even larger planning for calendar 2015.
 
Cities and counties maintain the vast majority of Iowa’s 114,000-mile road system, for which the plan is to boost monetary outlays for filling potholes, repairing aging bridges and installing new concrete and asphalt pavement. In rural areas, stretches of interstate will see pavement rehabilitation and bridge deck replacement projects, culvert repairs and other methods of maintenance and repair.
 
The tax increase, which took effect March 1, will provide cities and counties an extra $200 million annually. “This is going to be a huge help,” said Lyle Brehm, county engineer for Poweshiek and Tama counties and lobbyist for the Iowa County Engineers Association.
 
IDOT projects to establish up to 500 work zones across the state from now until the end of the road construction season sometime in November.

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