Iowa invested most ever to improve roads and bridges in 2022, DOT says
More than $1.47 billion was awarded to contractors to improve Iowa roads and bridges between over the past year. (Stock photo via Canva)
A record amount was invested into Iowa roads and bridges over the past year, the Iowa Department of Transportation announced Wednesday.
More than $1.47 billion was awarded to contractors to improve Iowa roads and bridges between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023.
The spending spanned 839 projects statewide, including investments in Iowa interstates, secondary roads and urban roads and bridges.
Some notable highway projects awarded in fiscal year 2023 include:
- U.S. 30 four-lane construction in Benton County
- U.S. 71 pavement reconstruction in the Okoboji area
- Final work to complete the new interchange at U.S. 218/Iowa 27 in Floyd County
- Initial phase to widen Interstate 35 from Ankeny to Iowa Highway 210
- Initial phase of reconstruction of the Madison Avenue and I-80 interchange in Council Bluffs, the final phase of the interstate reconstruction in the Council Bluffs area
About $700 million of the $1.47 billion is federal highway formula money, according to Stuart Anderson, transportation development division director for the DOT. Anderson said the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure bill increased the federal total by more than $100 million.
A July 2022 report from the White House said through formula funding alone from the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, Iowa is expected to receive, over a span of five years, $3.9 billion in federal funding for highways and bridges.
In 2022, Iowa was allocated $650 million in highway formula funding and $93 million in dedicated funding for bridges, according to the same report.
Two of Iowa’s six congressional delegates voted to pass the 2021 infrastructure law, Sen. Chuck Grassley and former Rep. Cindy Axne.
“The need for investment in Iowa’s roadways grows,” Scott Marler, director of the Iowa DOT said in a news release. “Traffic volumes have now surpassed pre-pandemic levels. In addition, the cost to construct roads and bridges has continued to increase significantly over the last year. I applaud the cities, counties and Iowa’s road and bridge contractors for their amazing work to strengthen our state’s economy and improve our transportation system.”
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Since 2006, the number of poor-condition bridges in Iowa has decreased from 256 to 26, according to the DOT.
The DOT said although great progress has been made, Iowa’s counties continue to invest and prioritize funds for bridge repair and replacement.
State funds contributed to the projects via the primary road fund and the TIME-21 fund. Taxes from motor fuel, registration fees and more contribute to these state funds.
To compensate for loss of fuel tax from electric vehicles hitting the roadway at a higher rate, a 2019 law took effect July 1, 2023 to charge tax on “electric fuel.” Electric vehicle charging station owners are now responsible for reporting and paying taxes per kilowatt dispensed, though the law does not apply to electricity dispensed at homes.
According to the DOT, nearly a quarter of the money awarded in fiscal year 2023 went toward the interstate highway system.
Transportation funding highlights
$274.5 million in the farm-to-market system
$358 million in the interstate system
$26.8 million in the secondary system
$136.8 million in urban roads and bridges
— Source: Iowa Department of Transportation
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