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DOT’s 5-Year Plan Reveals Future of Iowa Highways

Sat January 20, 2001 - Midwest Edition
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A blueprint for Iowa’s future investment in transportation was approved in December, when the Iowa Transportation Commission adopted the 2001-2005 Iowa Transportation Improvement Program. The program includes major investments planned by the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) to maintain and improve the operation and safety of airports, highways, railroads, public transit systems, and state park and institutional roads.

The highway program places emphasis on addressing additional interstate capacity and condition needs; increasing pavement rehabilitation funding in municipal areas; and improving and completing six major corridors in Iowa. The following corridors have been identified by the commission as high priority for four-lane completion: Iowa 5 from Knoxville to I-35; Iowa 60 from Sioux City to the Minnesota border; U.S. 151 from Cedar Rapids to Dubuque; Iowa 330 from Des Moines to Marshalltown; the Avenue of the Saints; and the Des Moines-to-Burlington corridor. The commission is maintaining its commitment to complete the corridors on their scheduled completion dates.

The highlights of the Iowa DOT’s 2001-2005 Transportation Improvement Program include the following proposed expenditures.

Highway

Approximately $2.4 billion is included in the program for state highway improvements for 2001-2005. Nearly $1.3 billion will be spent on improvements to the Commercial and Industrial Network, which is a designated network to support economic development through transportation investments. More than $540 million will go toward rehabilitating the interstate highway system in Iowa.

Aviation

Improvements at 23 general aviation airports, with an estimated cost of approximately $2.1 million, are included in the program. In addition, the DOT will spend $300,000 for commercial air service marketing projects at the 10 commercial service airports.

The department’s program also includes $1.5 million from the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund for vertical infrastructure projects; $110,000 for continued support of automated weather observation systems; and $100,000 for the runway marking program.

Public Transit

Iowa’s 19 urban and 16 regional transit systems are funded from: federal transit assistance programs; local funds generated from the farebox, service contracts, local taxes, interest earnings and sale of advertising; and from one-twentieth of the first four cents of the state’s motor vehicle use tax. Transit’s projected share of the use tax for fiscal year 2001 is approximately $10.7 million.

Operating costs for the 35 Iowa transit systems during 2001 will be more than $53.2 million, and approximately $27.7 million will be spent on capital improvements.

State Park and

Institutional Roads

The Park and Institutional Roads Program, which provides funding, engineering and maintenance services for roadways under the jurisdiction of several other state agencies, is administered by the DOT. The agencies presently participating in this program are the Board of Regents, the departments of Education, Human Services, General Services, Natural Resources and Corrections, the National Guard and the State Fair Board. The approved 2001 construction program has 35 projects expected to cost about $8.4 million in state road use tax funds.

Railroads

Approximately $11 million is programmed to assist Iowa’s railroads during 2001 through several programs. These programs, using state and federal funds, include improving the safety and ride of rail-highway crossings, safety inspections of rail lines throughout the state, and assistance in preserving and improving service to Iowa rail shippers. The assistance program also is aimed at encouraging economic development by encouraging new industries that rely on rail service to locate in Iowa, or for existing businesses to expand.

Recreational Trails

Since 1988, the DOT has approved $16.5 million of state funds to assist in developing and improving 68 trail projects in Iowa. The State Recreational Trails Program is supported by an annual appropriation of $2.25 million from state funds.

In 2000, the DOT received 37 applications requesting $14.6 million from the state trails funds. The commission approved seven projects from that list for a total of nearly $2.3 million.

Traffic Safety Improvement

The commission approved applications for 36 traffic safety improvement projects for 2001 which total $4.2 million. Funds for this program go to improve traffic safety at specific sites, purchase traffic control devices, and support public safety initiatives.

RISE

The Revitalize Iowa’s Sound Economy (RISE) program, established by the Iowa Legislature in 1985 to promote economic development in Iowa through construction or improvement of roads and streets, continues to be a viable component of the transportation improvement program, according to the DOT.

In 2000, the commission approved 16 Immediate Opportunity projects and 14 Local Development projects requiring approximately $10.7 million in RISE funds.

Statewide Enhancement Program

The Statewide Enhancement Program includes historical and archaeological projects, scenic and natural resource projects, and trails and bicycle projects. Nearly $4.6 million was authorized for 10 projects in 2001.

Iowa Clean Air Attainment Program

This program provides funding for projects which improve air quality or reduce congestion. The commission authorized about $4.7 million for 10 projects in 2001.

Living Roadway Trust Fund/Statewide

Roadside Improvement

The commission authorized spending $644,583 from the Living Roadway Trust Fund for 55 projects in 2001. In addition, $29 million will be provided over the next five years for funding of the Statewide Roadside Improvement program, which supports planting of roadside vegetation throughout the state.

The five-year plan serves as a guide to Iowa DOT’s plans for transportation improvements during the next several years. However, changes to the program — especially in the latter years of the program — may be required because of currently unforeseen situations, congressional or legislative action, or general economic conditions.

For more information, visit www.dot.state.ia.us/five year.htm.




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