Governor Chet Culver is touting his “I-JOBS” initiative which saw the state borrow 830 million dollars for a series of infrastructure projects as well as flood recovery. The legislature approved the package last spring and Culver issued a status report this week.
“To date, 1400 projects have been approved totalling $530 million,” Culver says. “These projects are moving forward. We’re very excited about how quickly the I-JOBS initiative is being implemented.”
According to Culver’s staff, projects in each of Iowa’s 99 counties have received I-JOBS funding. In Linn County — the site of massive flooding in June of 2008, 42 projects have been approved for I-JOBS funding, with a combined price tag of 88 million. Twenty-one million dollars worth of I-JOBS projects have been approved for Black Hawk County, which includes the Waterloo/Cedar Falls metro.
The state’s largest metro area is in Polk County, where 56 projects have received a total of 92 million dollars in I-JOBS funds. A large portion of the borrowing plan — about 100-million — is being used for flood recovery projects on the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City.
Culver and Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge have been traveling the state these past few months, attending ribbon cuttings and announcing I-JOBS grants for a variety of projects. Republicans have criticized Democrats Culver and Judge, saying the state shouldn’t be borrowing that much money in a recession. Culver counters that it’s a state-level economic stimulus package that is helping create jobs.
“It’s also a great opportunity to modernize our infrastructure whether it’s related to roads or bridges or telecommunications, renewable energy, sewer and water,” Culver says. “This will bring our state into the 21st century in terms of having a modern, world-class infrastructure — while creating good jobs.” Culver made his comments this week during a statehouse forum sponsored by the Associated Press. Go to www.radioiowa.com to find a link to a website which lists all the I-JOBS projects.