State officials say Iowa stands to lose millions of dollars in federal road funding if a deadline for repairs along the Missouri River is not extended. After a disaster, road repairs must be completed within 180 days to be eligible for 100% reimbursement from the Federal Highway Administration.
Late last week, state officials learned the administration started the clock ticking on May 25th — when the flooding began. Iowa Department of Transportation spokeswoman Dena Gray Fisher says there’s no way the state can have all the repairs made by November 21st.
“For instance, on I-680 where the roadway is actually obliterated and we’re going to have to start over and rebuild the road, it’s going to take quite awhile to get that work done and even to get access to it at this point,” she says. “Other roadways like Iowa (Highway) 2 are still inundated with flood waters.”
Iowa D.O.T. officials are asking the Federal Highway Administration to push back the start of the 180-day window for making repairs until after the water recedes. “What we’re really looking for is a reprieve in the start date,” Gray Fisher says. The state would have to come up with a lot of money if the deadline for completing repairs isn’t changed.
“We’re talking about millions of dollars that it’s going to take to rebuild our roadways and being able to have 100 percent recovery money is really what we need,” Gray Fisher says. “It’s a burden on the state to have to come up with matching money.” State officials even emailed a photo of Interstate-680 damage to try to make their case to federal officials.