I-Jobs-Iowa’s Infrastructure Investment Initiative

Revitalize Iowa’s Sound Economy Fund

While not part of the I-JOBS legislative package, reference was made during the legislative discussion to $10 million in unobligated Revitalize Iowa's Sound Economy (RISE) funding that is available to cities and counties through the existing DOT administered program.

What is the RISE program?

The Revitalize Iowa’s Sound Economy (RISE) program was created in 1985 and first implemented by the Iowa Department of Transportation in FY 1986. The purpose of the RISE program is to promote economic development in Iowa through the establishment, construction, improvement, and maintenance of roads and streets that promote economic development in the state by improving or maintaining highway access:

  • To specific development sites, including existing and future industrial locations.
  • Between urban centers or between urban centers and the interstate system.
  • To economically depressed areas of the state.
  • To points of shipment or processing of products.
  • To trucking terminals and places of embarkation or shipment by other transportation modes.
  • To scenic, recreational, historic, and cultural sites or other locations identified as tourist attractions.


The RISE program is funded with dedicated state motor fuel and special fuel tax revenues as set out in Iowa Code section 312.2 and chapter 315. Monies credited to the RISE Fund are allocated as follows:
  • Four-sevenths for deposit in the Primary Road Fund for the use of the Iowa DOT on primary road projects as follows: Fifty percent for highway that support the production or transport of renewable fuels, including primary highways that connect biofuel facilities to highways in the commercial and industrial highway network and fifty percent for highways that have been designated by the state transportation commission as access Iowa highways pursuant to 2005 Iowa Acts, ch. 178, section 41.
  • One-seventh for the use of counties on secondary road projects, including secondary roads that connect biofuel facilities to highways in the commercial and industrial highway network.
  • Two-sevenths for the use of cities on city street projects.

Project activities eligible for RISE funds

Project activities or costs eligible for RISE funding, and which may be counted as part of the non–RISE participation in immediate opportunity and local development roadway projects, include only the following:
  • Roadway resurfacing, rehabilitation, modernization, upgrading, reconstruction or initial construction, including grading and drainage, paving, erosion control, pavement overlays, and shoulder widening and stabilization.
  • Bridge and culvert repair, modernization, replacement or initial construction.
  • Roadway intersection and interchange improvements including warranted traffic signalization when it is integral to the improvement.
  • Right–of–way purchase.
  • Construction or improvement of motorist rest areas, welcome centers, and information centers.
  • Design engineering costs and construction inspection costs associated with RISE–financed projects.
  • County and city bond principal and interest payments associated with RISE projects. No financing expenses incurred prior to funding commitment shall be eligible.
  • Storm drainage and storm sewer costs to the extent needed for draining the roadway.

Type of projects

Two types of projects may be funded under the RISE program: (1) Immediate Opportunity (IO); and (2) Local Development (LD).

Immediate Opportunity: IO projects require an immediate funding commitment to secure developers or firms in the location of business facilities that will result in permanent job creation or retention. Applications are submitted on a year-round basis. These projects typically have first priority for all available RISE funds. IO projects may be located on primary roads, secondary roads, city streets, state park roads or county conservation parkways. There is no restriction on the number of applications per county or city that will be considered for RISE funding.

After DOT staff review, complete applications meeting the program criteria are forwarded to the Iowa Transportation Commission for action. The Commission may fund all or any part of an application and may make a conditional funding commitment. In making its decision, the Commission will consider the amount of total capital investment per RISE dollar requested, and amount of RISE dollars requested per job created or retained. The Commission may deny funding for projects which will not result in net job creation or job retention from a statewide point of view, for instance, projects which simply involve the relocation of jobs or other economic activity within Iowa. IO project applications may, at the discretion of the Commission, be considered as applications for LD projects. These applications shall be included in the current round of LD project programming, regardless of the deadlines stated in the rules. However, IO project applications submitted solely to circumvent the deadlines for LD project applications shall not be considered in this manner.

Local Development Projects: These projects support local economic development efforts but do not require an immediate commitment of funds. The projects are selected through a competitive evaluation process conducted semiannually. LD projects may be located on primary roads, secondary roads, city streets, state park roads or county conservation parkways. There is no restriction on the number of applications per county or city that will be considered for RISE funding.

The following factors and potential rating points are used in assessing applications for LD projects. Assessment of these factors is the responsibility of the Iowa DOT
  • Development potential. This factor measures the degree of certainty involved in the economic development activity to be supported by the proposed RISE project and the potential for future job growth.
    Maximum points: 35.
  • Economic impact. This factor measures the economic impact of the development activity to be supported by the proposed RISE project, including the number of direct jobs assisted, investment leveraging, the percentage of out–of–state sales and in–state suppliers, the impact on competition and diversification, and the quality of job factors.
    Maximum points: 20.
  • Local commitment and initiative. This factor measures the level of effort being put forth by the applicant to attract economic development and the adequacy of the supporting infrastructure.
    Maximum points: 35.
    (includes 5 points for the remediation or redevelopment of a brownfield site).
  • Transportation need. This factor measures the condition and quality of existing road or street service.
    Maximum points: 4.
  • Area economic need. This factor measures the economic condition of the area.
    Maximum points: 6.
Iowa DOT staff will review and rate complete project applications and may consult with other organizations with economic development responsibilities. As part of the review, staff will evaluate the effect of the proposed project on the state economy using the following factors: consistency with the state economic development plan; diversification of the state economy; the impact on in–state suppliers, competitors and import substitution; percentage of out–of–state sales; quality of employment positions; and record of law violations. Complete applications are forwarded to the Commission for a funding commitment action within a reasonable period of time after the application deadline. An application considered, but not funded in one programming cycle, must be resubmitted by the applicant if it is to be considered in a subsequent cycle. The Commission may fund all or any part of an application and may make a funding commitment conditional upon adherence to a specific time schedule, realization of a development prospect, or fulfillment of other agreements.

Applicant eligibility

Independent applications. All incorporated cities and counties in the state of Iowa are eligible to apply for and receive funds under the RISE program. Private firms or developers or other agencies may not apply directly for funds, but are encouraged to work with county or city governments in seeking funding for projects.

Joint applications. Joint applications from two or more counties or cities are encouraged when mutual action is required to support economic development. Joint applications shall designate a lead county or city to serve as a principal contact point for the department

Application materials

Application instructions and forms for LD and IO projects are available from the Office of Systems Planning at http://www.iowadot.gov/systems_planning/rise.htm.

For further information about this program contact:
Office of Systems Planning
Iowa Department of Transportation
800 Lincoln Way
Ames, IA 50010
ATTN:  Rebecca Law