Government

State commission approves five-year road and infrastructure plan

As traffic flies by at right, L.L. Pelling trucks waiting to drop their hot loads of asphalt line interstate 380 northbound during the nighttime hours Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2008. (Jonathan D. Woods/The Gazette)
As traffic flies by at right, L.L. Pelling trucks waiting to drop their hot loads of asphalt line interstate 380 northbound during the nighttime hours Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2008. (Jonathan D. Woods/The Gazette)

The state’s transportation commission has approved a $3.4 billion Transportation Improvement Program for fiscal years 2019-2023.

On Tuesday, the Iowa Transportation Commission voted unanimously to approve the plan, which includes a slew of projects statewide investments in aviation, transit, railroads, trials and roads.

The program also identifies additional projects added to the list thanks to Iowa’s now three-year-old, 10 cent fuel tax increase. The dime tax increase is expected to add approximately $508.1 million — about 15 percent of all funds — to state projects over the five-year span.

The state receives 47.5 percent of fuel tax revenue, while counties and cities take the remaining 52.5 percent. State projects are determined by the Iowa Transportation Commission.

Some of the local projects added to the list with fuel tax funds include two Highway 1 bridge replacements in Johnson County — a $750,000 project over an unnamed stream and an estimated $3.65 million bridge replacement over Old Man’s Creek. Both projects are slated for 2020.

In Linn County, fuel tax dollars will go toward next year’s $2.75 million lighting project on Interstate 380, from Third Avenue SW to Eighth Street NE.

That project, which is expected to be bid next January, will replace 100 light poles on the interstate and ramps as well as 100 underdeck light fixtures, which illuminate surface streets below the interstate.

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Linn County in 2020 also will see a roughly $12 million rebuild of more than four miles of Highway 13 south of Central City. The project includes culvert extensions, grading and paving and new traffic signs.

In addition, new fuel tax dollars will help complete the state’s four-lane widening project on U.S. 30 in Tama and Benton counties, the report states.

Added last year, Hiawatha’s Tower Terrace Road project, which includes an interchange with I-380, still is slated to begin as soon as next year.

While gas tax revenue funds increased spending, the report does note uncertainty in federal funding. The 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, or FAST, is set to expire Sept. 30, 2020 — before the third year of the fiscal year 2019-2023 state highway program.

Local state projects funded with increased fuel tax revenue

Linn County:

• 2019-2020: Grading and paving, culvert extension and traffic signs on Highway 12 south of Central City. About $12 million.

• 2019: Updated light poles, under-deck lights and infrastructure along and below Interstate-380 from Third Avenue SW to Eighth Street NE. $2.75 million.

Johnson County:

• 2020: Bridge replacement over an unnamed stream on Highway 1 south of Iowa City. $751,000.

• 2020: Bridge replacement over Old Man’s Creek south of Iowa City. $3.65 million.

l Comments: (319) 398-8309; mitchell.schmidt@thegazette.com

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