A key Democrat at the Statehouse is pushing for legislation to borrow up to $15 million to boost the state’s wind industry. Senator Bill Dotzler of Waterloo says the money would be used to build six rail ports the industry needs to expand.
“We just can’t pour money into one business, but we can create an environment that will help stimulate these companies and make things work for them and I think that’s what we got to do,” Dotzler said. Republicans, and even some Democrats, oppose the idea after borrowing $800 million last year for the job creation program known as I-Jobs.
Dotzler, who chairs the Senate Economic Development Budget Sub-committee, says he may still be able to gain consensus for the rail expansion plan. “If we can set these rail ports up – where goods can come into Iowa and then we can truck out from there or vice-versa – I think that’s a good thing for Iowa and we can use that as a stimulus to develop around these rail ports throughout the state,” Dotzler said.
Democrats, who hold the majority, initially proposed borrowing up to $100 million for infrastructure projects as a part of a job stimulus package. Dotzler says scaled back plan would allow wind turbine manufacturers to move giant blades and towers across Iowa on rail lines, rather than on highways and interstates.
Dotzler made his comments on the Iowa Public Radio program The Exchange.