I-Jobs-Iowa’s Infrastructure Investment Initiative

I-JOBS Transportation Funding

Iowa DOT

I-JOBS is an $830 million, three-year initiative of the Culver/Judge Administration intended to create jobs, strengthen the state’s economy and invest in Iowa’s infrastructure.  Many modes of transportation in Iowa will benefit from I-JOBS, including a total of $115 million in investments in our state’s roads and bridges, freight and passenger rail systems, recreational trails, general aviation airports, and public transit systems. The Iowa DOT is very pleased that Governor Culver and Lieutenant Governor Judge made investing in transportation infrastructure part of the solution and that the Iowa Legislature agreed.

During the 2009 legislative session, the Iowa General Assembly passed Senate File 376,
House File 820 and House File 822, each containing pieces of the I-JOBS legislation that affect the Iowa Department of Transportation’s programs.

Senate File 376:

Signed into law May 14, 2009, this Act, titled the Revenue Bonding and I-JOBS Program Bill, creates the I-JOBS program, an I-JOBS board and I-JOBS Fund; authorizes the issuance of bonds, including tax-exempt bonds; and makes and revises appropriations.  Senate Amendment 3359 to that bill appropriated $50 million to the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) for deposit in the Bridge Safety Fund (created in Iowa Code section 313.68), which is to be used for infrastructure projects relating to functionally obsolete and structurally deficient bridges. Allocation of monies from the Bridge Safety Fund will be made by the Iowa Transportation Commission.

House File 820:

Signed into law May 26, 2009, this Act relates to state and financial matters by revising certain appropriations and appropriating federal funds made available from federal block grants, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and other federal grants, allocating portions of federal block grants, and providing procedures if federal funds are more or less than anticipated or if the block grants are more or less than anticipated, and including effective and retroactive applicability date provisions. The Act appropriated to the Iowa Department of Transportation $5,550,000 from funding designated for government stabilization under a federal Recovery Act block grant. Fifty percent of the funding shall be deposited into the Street Construction Fund of the Cities and 50 percent into the Secondary Road Fund of the Counties, to be used for construction, reconstruction, repair, and maintenance of city roads or secondary roads. The moneys allocated shall be expended in two years.  The selection of projects using these funds will be made by the local governmental agencies.

House File 822:

Signed into law May 26, 2009, this Act relates to the making, reducing and transferring of appropriations to state departments and agencies from the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund, Technology Reinvestment Fund, and other funds creating and funding the Iowa flood center. 
The legislature appropriated from the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund to the Iowa DOT the following amounts.

  • $3 million for capital improvements and related studies for expanding passenger rail services in Iowa.
  • $3.5 million for acquiring, constructing and improving recreational trails within the state. Trails monies may be used for purposes of building equestrian or snowmobile trails that run parallel to a recreational trail. Of the amount appropriated, $750,000 was allocated for the Principal Riverwalk in Des Moines and $500,000 for the trail system and bridge in the Pinicon Ridge Park in Linn County. The trail system will connect Pinicon Ridge Park and Central City, and the bridge will connect the picnic and campground sides of the park.
  • $1.5 million for the Railroad Revolving Loan and Grant Fund. Of the amount appropriated, $1 million was allocated for replacement of the Union Pacific railroad bridge over the Cedar River in Waterloo. [Note: This bridge was used by the Iowa Northern Railroad to serve John Deere's East Donald Street Tractor Works and transport Deere tractors over that line to Cedar Rapids. The bridge collapsed during the floods of 2008.]
  • $750,000 for infrastructure improvement grants at general aviation airports within the state.
  • $1,250,000 for deposit into the Public Transit Infrastructure Grant Fund. 
  • $39,450,000 to assist local governments to rebuild and repair local roads. Fifty percent of the amount appropriated shall be deposited into the Street Construction Fund of the Cities and 50 percent deposited into the Secondary Road Fund of the Counties, to be used for construction, reconstruction, repair, and maintenance of city roads or secondary roads.  The moneys allocated to such funds shall be expended within two years, FY2010 and FY2011. 
While not part of the I-JOBS legislative package, reference was made during the legislative discussion to $10 million of unobligated Revitalize Iowa's Sound Economy (RISE) funding that is available to cities and counties through the existing DOT administered program.

The Transportation Commission will approve all projects using these funds, except for funds deposited directly into the Street Construction Fund of the Cities and Secondary Road Fund of the Counties.  Decisions regarding those funds will be made by the local agencies.

I-JOBS Board

An 11-member I-JOBS Board of Directors has been appointed by Governor Culver to develop rules, review applications and make grant decisions regarding $118.5 million in competitive I-JOBS grants and $46.5 million in noncompetitive flood-recovery grants earmarked as $15 million for Linn County, $30 million for the library, public works building, Paramount Theater and National Czech & Slovak Museum in Cedar Rapids, and $500,000 each for fire stations in Palo, Elkader and Charles City. 

The board consists of six members of the public that provide statewide representation. In addition, the I-JOBS Board includes State Treasurer Mike Fitzgerald, and a representative of the Iowa Finance Authority, Department of Economic Development, Iowa Workforce Development, and Rebuild Iowa Office (until June 30, 2011, and then Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division of the Department of Public Defense).

The Iowa Finance Authority provides staff and administrative support for I-JOBS. Jeff Pomeranz, city manager for West Des Moines, serves as chair of the I-JOBS Board and Pat Baird, chief executive officer of AEGO USA serves as vice chair.

Other components of the I-JOBS program, including that under the oversight of the Iowa Transportation Commission, will be handled by other state boards or agencies.