Governor Culver has approved an update to his I-JOBS infrastructure initiative. Culver’s I-JOBS program was launched in 2009 to help finance infrastructure and disaster recovery projects around the state.
The original legislation authorized more than $800 million in borrowing, but $105 million of that has not been divied out yet. Today, Culver signed a plan which specifies I-JOBS officials will have that $105 million, plus another $45 million dollars to hand out this year.
Thirty million of that will reserved for communities struck by flooding or tornadoes in 2008. That’s why Culver staged his bill signing ceremony in Cedar Rapids where flood waters covered 10 square miles of the city in June of 2008.
Republicans, including Representative Renee Shulte of Cedar Rapids, opposed the overall borrowing plan Culver signed today. It included $273 million for other projects besides the $150 million in I-JOBS spending. “There’s so much more in this bill that’s pork for all over the state,” Shulte said earlier this year.
Last year Culver touted the job-creation aspects of handing out grants for construction and rebuilding projects around the state. “We have a choice. We can take control of our own destiny. We can come out of this recession better and stronger and more competitive,” Culver said just over a year ago. “Iowa can literally work our way out of this recession.”
But a report issued this past February concluded the I-JOBS program had fallen far short of Culver’s job-creation goal. Culver has lately been emphasizing that the program helps modernize the state’s infrastructure while creating “temporary, short-term” jobs.