116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
DES MOINES - State transportation officials still will be able to manage road and bridge building, traffic enforcement, driver's license issuance, snow removal and other duties within the less-than-hoped-for allocation from the Legislature, Gov. Terry Branstad said Monday.
Leaders of the Iowa Department of Transportation emerged from an austere budgeting process last legislative session with an increased funding level that still was about $4.85 million lower than requested - prompting them to reduce their staff numbers, shut down two western Iowa driver's license stations and close rural maintenance garages.
But Branstad told reporters at his weekly news conference that the county treasurers in Carroll and Clay counties would take over the duties of the license stations in Spencer and Carroll once the counties are in a position to offer the services. That will bring to 83 the number of counties issuing driver's licenses, he said.
Also, the governor said DOT officials have been consolidating maintenance garages and he expressed confidence snow removal efforts and other services would not be hurt by the closure of seven maintenance garages in Akron, Centerville, Corning, Gowrie, Rock Valley, Sabula and Soldier.
'I've seen the map. They're going to be able to plow the roads and I don't think it's really going to make a big difference in terms of that area,” he said. 'We're always looking for ways that we can more efficiently deliver the services and have more of the money going for building roads and bridges rather than for administrative costs.”
Branstad said he worked with both the Legislature and the department to find middle ground on a $9.7 million funding request that met resistance from Republican legislators concerned that new revenue from a 10-cent per gallon state gas tax was going to salaries rather that critical road and bridges needs.
'They got half of what they wanted,” the governor said. 'I think that they can live with that and make it work.”