The Iowa Transportation Commission gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a new five-year transportation plan that includes no new road building or economic development projects. Department of Transportation program management director, Jon Ranney, says a variety of factors kept the department from adding new projects to this plan.
Ranney says project costs have increased steadily, a decrease or flattening of the rate of growth of state and federal funds, the declining condition of existing roads, and other economic development interests. The plan calls for spending two billion dollars in the new fiscal year that begins in July — the same amount spent last year. Ranney says uncompleted projects have been moved forward and are part of the commission’s investment goals.
Ranney says the goals include completing the remaining six four-lane corridors, maintain and preserve the existing highway system, and develop capacity and economic development projects as possible. Ranney says there are two of the six remaining four-lane corridors that will be completed in this plan, the Iowa 60 corridor in northwest Iowa will be completed this year., and the Des Moines to Burlington corridor in southeast Iowa in 2008. The plan calls for spending 310-million dollars on the maintenance of existing roadways.
Ranney says 170 million is targeted at the interstates, 90 million to pavement preservation, 35 million to bridge projects, and 15 million to statewide safety improvements. You can see the entire plan on the DOT’s website. The transportation commission is expected to give final approval to the plant at its meeting next month.