State officials today (Tuesday) set aside nearly $7 million for road work near the speedway planned just outside Newton. The state Transportation Commission today approved a $6.8 million grant to the city of Newton this morning. Stuart Anderson, director of the DOT’s office of systems planning, says the money will help pay about half the cost of over 21,000 feet of roadway. It’ll be an access road to an area just south of Interstate-80 that will hopefully become home to warehouses and office buildings as well as the speedway. The state grant is given to the City of Newton, which is then required to raise local funds to match the grant and pay the other half of road construction. But the city has put some spending on track-related facilities on hold until financing for the track is settled. Anderson says that means the state grant money won’t be used until Newton city leaders decide the track is viable and the road should be built. It will be a two-lane road that will expand to as many as five lanes at the main entrance to the track. While $6.8 million is a lot of money, Anderson says it’s not the largest Revitalize Iowa’s Sound Economy or RISE grant the state has awarded. The City of Des Moines received the largest-ever RISE grant of 25-point-two million dollars for a project that’s making a more direct route off the Des Moines freeway and south to the airport. The state Transportation Commission approved the grant this morning at its meeting in Waverly. Newton Mayor Charles “Chaz” Allen says he’s thrilled with the announcement. Allen calls it “incredible news” that holds much promise for the city of Newton. The city of Newton is bracing for news of a different sort when Maytag shareholders meet Thursday to consider bids to buy the Newton-based company.
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