The Iowa Transportation Commission has agreed to settlements officials from Oelwein and Cedar Rapids after the cities failed to meet job-creation goals required by state grants. Stuart Anderson of the Department of Transportation says the “Revitalize Iowa’s Sound Economy”, or “RISE” grants were awarded to help the cities build roads to create new jobs. Anderson says Oelwein was awarded a 62-thousand dollar “RISE” grant in 1997 to help bring 100 new jobs to Burch Cabinets company. Anderson says the grants require a 50-percent match and give cities two years to meet their job goals.After two years, Oelwein asked for an extension, and was eventually awarded two one-year extensions. He says only 57 of the 100 jobs had been created after the extensions. Anderson says they used a standard formula to determine how much Oelwein had to pay back. Based on their default policy, the City of Oelwein agreed to pay back 10-thousand-700 dollars. Anderson says Cedar Rapids got a 392-thousand dollar RISE grant in October of 1996 with the promise of creating 100 at Federal Express. He says Cedar Rapids requested and extension after the initial two-year period, then the attacks of 9-11 hurt the air freight industry and the city was given two more extensions. The city agreed to a default settlement after creating only 52 of the jobs. Cedar Rapids will pay the state 70-thousand-562 dollars under the settlement. Anderson says these defaults aren’t very common, even though the state’s economy has lagged in recent years.He says this isn’t related to the economy — he says it’s a case of job expectations falling a little short and says the settlements are not large amounts and have little impact on the communities. The Transportation Commission did approve a new grant application Tuesday of over 325-thousand dollars for West Burlington for street improvements to an industrial park.
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