This week Governor Chet Culver is expected to reveal more details of his plan to have the state borrow millions to finance infrastructure projects. “Probably on Tuesday I’ll be rolling out our complete package, which is about a $750 million bonding proposal,” Culver says. “We believe it could create thousands and thousands of jobs statewide.”
Culver will ask legislators to reserve about 100-million dollars for “environmental related” projects, including state funding for cities which must either update their storm water sewer systems — or build a storm sewer system if they’ve never had one. Culver also plans to ask legislators to spend some of the money on the state’s transportation system.
“We can invest in deficient bridge projects, road projects that are public safety concerns right now,” Culver says. “We can invest significant funds to help rebuild the part of the state that was impacted by the floods.” The state gas taxes paid at Iowa pumps are funneled into a state fund that finances construction and repair of the state’s roads and bridges and some legislators have argued the gas tax should be hiked, but on Friday Culver made it clear he’d veto a gas tax increase.
As for that $750-million borrowing program the governor has been arguing for, Culver hints railroad funding should be part of the package and some of the money should be used to finance major renovations of the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown. “It’ll be a total of about $750 million worth of projects all over the state and I think it’ll be important for the state to do our own economic recovery effort,” Culver says.
“We have to work our way out of this recession and this initiative will literally allow us to do that and, at the same time, we can invest in bricks and mortar. We can create jobs and we can modernize our infrastructure.” When Culver first proposed this idea of a state-level “stimulus” package back in January, the price tag was lower, at seven-hundred-million dollars.