To continue to bring stakeholders in Iowa transportation issues together, the US 20 Association is planning Transportation Day at the State Capitol for Jan. 27 along with other highway groups and coalitions. "We will again stress the need for maintaining and expanding our transportation infrastructure with legislators," remarked Shirley Phillips, president of the Association. "We recognize the challenges of the present economy, but we also understand this is an ongoing effort and want to maintain the momentum we have built over the past few years in this campaign for four-lane US 20. Transportation infrastructure supports our economic vitality in Iowa."
Economic Concerns and Iowa Road Construction
Governor Chet Culver's 10 percent across the board budget cut for Iowa agencies and programs did not dramatically impact Department of Transportation operations and construction activities. Lee Wilkinson, operations and finance division director at DOT, said, "The DOT operations budget and construction program come primarily from the primary road fund and a portion of the operating budget comes from the road use tax fund. The 10 percent cut to all general fund agencies and programs did not impact our operating budget."
Wilkinson said just one DOT commercial airport program relies on the general fund so that $1.5 million program had to be reduced by $150,000. "That was the extent of the impact to the DOT," he observed.
Fears the across the board cuts ordered by Governor Culver would alter DOT construction programming, including development of four-lane US 20 in western Iowa, can be put to rest. However, transportation funding will continue to be a concern based on needs versus revenue.
When the Iowa Legislature enacted TIME 21, new funding mechanisms were implemented which increased revenue and gave the DOT the ability to continue increasing capacity while meeting ever growing maintenance needs of Iowa's aging transportation infrastructure.
US 20 Association Information
The public is welcome to attend the US 20 Corridor Association meeting on November 13th. The group is made up of economic development officials, elective office holders, business, industry, and other stakeholders interested in seeing US 20 completed as a four-lane across Iowa. Current DOT plans call for the roadway to be completed as a four-lane to US 71 at Early in 2013.
More information on the Association can be gained by visiting www.4lane20.com. or by calling Association President Shirley Phillips at 712-662-7383.