The U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has released a report showing Iowa ranks second nationally in using federal stimulus dollars allocated for highway and bridge projects. Iowa has already awarded 85% of the 358-million federal dollars to contractors. [More Iowa projects]
Dan Franklin, with the Iowa Department of Transportation, says the money is a little less than what Iowa also received through an annual federal program. “So, it almost doubles the size of the federal funds we receive,” Franklin said. “That all gets translated into resurfacing on roads, repairing some bridges and we put some money into trails.”
Wyoming is the only state ahead of Iowa in terms of the percentage of federal stimulus dollars it has allocated for highway and bridge projects. Franklin says city, county and state officials made it a priority to get the federal money in the road construction pipeline as soon as possible.
“We focused on those projects that could get out the door quick,” Franklin said. “So, a lot of it is resurfacing work.” Franklin says the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act also includes money for other modes of transportation. “There are aviation projects, transit projects, rail-passenger projects…they’re not quite as far along, but the stimulus program did include funding for all modes,” Franklin said.
In response to the report, Governor Chet Culver’s office issued a statement saying more Iowans are employed because of the road construction projects.