Governor Chet Culver plans to propose a package of public works projects for the State of Iowa that mirrors the plan President-elect Barack Obama is crafting. "After the floods and the tornadoes of ’08, we’ve got a lot of work to do to rebuild block by block and community by community and I’ve got some ideas, including a major infrastructure initiative that I will roll out on Tuesday to help us put people to work and create some good-paying jobs and rebuild our state," Culver said Friday afternoon during an interview with Radio Iowa.
Culver isn’t releasing the details regarding the size of the plan, but his state-funded infrastructure package will address improvements in the electric transmission system in Iowa, as well as levees, wastewater treatment plants, and even recreational trails projects. "A really exciting opportunity to address some of our infrastructure needs that have been delayed or neglected for the past several years," Culver told Radio Iowa.
Culver expects congress and the president to forward millions to Iowa for "shovel-ready" infrastructure projects that have been identified by cities, counties and the state of Iowa as priorities, plus Culver expects the Federal Emergency Management Agency to eventually spend as much as a billion dollars helping to rebuild storm-damaged areas. "Big and bold" are the only hints Culver will provide as to the size of the plan he plans to unveil Tuesday. "I’m hopeful that we’ll have bipartisan support for it and I’ll give you all the details next week," Culver said during Friday’s interview with Radio Iowa. "…I think there’ll be a lot of interest and I expect a healthy discussion about it and I welcome that discussion from the legislators."
According to Culver, as many as 4000 new jobs are created with every $100 million that’s invested in infrastructure projects. "I’m optimistic that we could be talking about literally thousands and thousands of new jobs statewide related to both the federal and state infrastructure initiatives, so that’s encouraging," Culver told Radio Iowa. "That’s pretty much what any economist will tell you — you’ve got to put people to work and create jobs during a recession — and that’s exactly what I plan on doing."
Culver, who will turn 43 later this month, had a job working on public infrastructure when he was younger. "I dug ditches in Washington, D.C. one long summer when I was in college and I also worked here in Polk County (Iowa) here in the maintenance area trying to make a few dollars when I was just out of college," Culver said. Culver graduated from Virginia Tech in 1988 with a degree in education.