The Iowa Department of Transportation presented the Iowa Transportation Commission (Commission) with the draft Fiscal Year 2019-2023 Iowa Transportation Improvement Program (Program) at its meeting today. The Program documents investments in Iowa’s multimodal transportation system covering aviation, public transit, railroads, trails, and highways. The Commission and the Iowa DOT remain committed to providing modern, safe, and efficient transportation services to the public.
The draft Program is posted and available for public comment on the Iowa DOT's website https://www.iowadot.gov/program_management/five_year.html. The Commission is currently scheduled to consider approval of the Program at its meeting in Des Moines to be held June 12.
This Program continues to reflect the additional projects that are possible because of the fuel tax increase implemented in 2015. As directed by the legislation, 100 percent of the additional revenue allocated to the Iowa DOT will be spent on road and bridge projects that are critical to maintain Iowa’s transportation infrastructure and create opportunities for expanded economic activity. A list of projects able to be funded due to the funding increase is included in the highway section of the Program.
A major component of the Program is the highway program that documents programmed investments in the Primary Highway System for the next five years. For FY 2019-2023, approximately $3.4 billion is forecast to be available for highway right of way and construction. The Commission continues to maintain a balance between rural and urban investment with approximately 55 percent of the $3.4 billion Program being invested in rural areas.
The highway section was developed to achieve several objectives. The Commission’s primary investment objective remains stewardship, including safety, maintenance, and modernization of Iowa’s existing highway system. More than $1.8 billion is programmed from FY 2019 through FY 2023 for modernization of Iowa’s existing highway system and for enhanced highway safety features.
The Program includes more than $1 billion of investments in Iowa’s state-owned bridges. Over the last few years, the number of structurally deficient bridges on the state highway system has been reduced from 256 in 2006 to 51 in 2017 as a result of the Commission’s emphasis to improve the condition of Iowa’s bridges.
The Commission and Iowa DOT continue to recognize the critical importance of an effective and efficient interstate highway system. The interstate highways connect all transportation systems in Iowa and facilitate major freight movements that deliver Iowa products to world marketplaces. The highway section includes significant interstate investments on I-29 in Sioux City, the I-74 Mississippi River Bridge replacement in Bettendorf, and the I-80/I-29 system in Council Bluffs. Along with these important interstate projects, we continue to make improvements to important non-interstate corridors, including U.S. 30 in Tama, Benton, and Linn Counties, U.S. 52 in Dubuque County, U.S 61 in Des Moines County, and U.S. 63 in Wapello County. In addition, by the end of this calendar year, the four-lane construction of U.S. 20 in western Iowa is expected to be complete. Portions of these investments address stewardship needs.
Additional capacity and system enhancement projects
Another highway programming objective is developing and constructing capacity and system enhancement projects. The Commission was able to add construction for six-lane improvements to I-35 in Polk and Story Counties from NE 36thStreet in Ankeny to north of Iowa 210.
The Commission was also able to add several significant small and medium sized projects that address safety and condition needs. These projects include the following.
- S. 20 in Black Hawk County from U.S. 63 to Iowa 21 in Waterloo
- S. 30 in Story County in Nevada
- S. 52 in Jackson County from the Mississippi River to north of Sabula.
Continuation of previously programmed projects
The Commission remains committed to previous highway programming actions by maintaining the schedules of large multiyear corridor improvement projects. These multiyear corridor improvement projects include the following.
- Iowa 1 in Jefferson County in Fairfield
- Iowa 3 in Dubuque County from Luxemburg to Sageville
- S. 6 in Polk County from south of Euclid Avenue to north of 38th Street in Des Moines
- Iowa 13 in Linn County from north of County Home Road to south of Central City
- Iowa 14 in Marshall and Grundy counties from County Road E-18 to Iowa 175
- Iowa 17 in Boone County north of U.S. 30
- S. 18 in Floyd County at the U.S. 218 intersection in Floyd
- S. 20 in Webster County from east of County Road P-73 to Iowa 17
- S. 20 in Black Hawk County from Iowa 21 to the Cedar River in Waterloo
- S. 20 in Dubuque County at Swiss Valley Road
- S. 30 in Story County from east of I-35 to east of 590th Avenue
- S. 30 in Tama/Benton counties from the Tama bypass to U.S. 218
- S. 30 in Linn County for the Mount Vernon and Lisbon bypass
- S. 30 in Clinton County at County Road Y-62
- S. 52 in Dubuque County for the Southwest Arterial
- Iowa 57 in Black Hawk County in Cedar Falls
- S. 61 in Des Moines County from Burlington to north of Mediapolis
- S. 63 in Wapello County from County Road J-12 to U.S. 34 in Ottumwa
- S. 69 in Polk County from I-80 to Southeast 33rd Street in Ankeny
- S. 69 in Wright County from north of the railroad to County Road C-20
- S. 75 in Plymouth County from Hinton to Merrill
- Iowa 92 in Keokuk County at the Iowa 21 and the County Road V-33 intersections
- Iowa 92 in Washington and Louisa counties from east of U.S. 218 to Iowa 70 in Columbus Junction
- Iowa 100 in Linn County from U.S. 30 to Covington Road in Cedar Rapids
- Iowa 141 in Monona County from east of County Road L-32 to west of County Road L-37
- S. 151 in Linn County from south of Church Street in Fairfax to north of Dean Road
- S. 218 in Black Hawk County from Broadway Street to the Airport interchange in Waterloo.
A large part of funding available for highway programming comes from the federal government. Accurately estimating future federal funding levels requires a multiyear federal transportation authorization bill. The current authorization, Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, was signed into law Dec. 4, 2015. However, it will expire Sept. 30, 2020, which is before the third year of the FY 2019-2023 Iowa Transportation Improvement Program. Therefore, there is some uncertainty about federal funding after this date.