Five members of the Iowa Transportation Commission are in Washington, D.C. today. Also on the trip is Dan Franklin, the director of policy and legislative services for the Department of Transportation.
“We’re going to be visiting with members of our congressional delegation — talk to them a little bit about the programming process that we are now going through developing a five-year improvement program,” Franklin says. “Some of the issues related to funding, project selection, so they have a good understanding of what the commission’s priorities are as far as selecting highway projects is one of the key things right now.”
Money is one of the key issues, and Franklin says the money spent on the trip to the nation’s capital is important. “When we go there it allows an opportunity to actually meet with them one-on-one. When the delegation comes back to the state, they normally have a lot of other priorities — town meetings etcetera — that they’e going to. This allows the commission to meet the delegation on their home turf there in D.C. and get their focused attention,” Franklin says.
The road funding is set for 2013, but Franklin says there are different versions from the House, Senate and President for 2014.
He says one of the long-term issues the commission faces is how much federal funding to include in projections.
“Right now the commission’s projections are flat funding. We’re not projecting any increases in fund. But even flat funding as you know these days is uncertain,” Franklin explains.
The delegation traveled to Washington Wednesday and will return later today.