Not unlike many states in the U.S., Iowa’s infrastructure is crumbling, and the state and federal government is paying its share of the repair bill. If you’ve driven around North Iowa, you’ve probably noticed many roads and bridges in need of dire repair. Hancock County is busy preparing for 7 road and bridge projects in fiscal year 2020, three of which will be paid by state and federal money. The Hancock County Board of Supervisors approved the fiscal year 2020 Hancock County/Iowa DOT budget on Monday, as well as the 5 year construction program. Hancock County Supervisor Jerry Tlach tells what work is projected to be done.
The Iowa Department of Transportation, which is responsible for the primary bridge system, receives money from the Federal Highway Administration, which distributes it among the state, counties and cities. They also receive money to distribute from fuel taxes and vehicle registration fees, which makes up the Road Use Tax Fund. In 2015, Iowa passed a 10 cent gas tax increase that provides millions of dollars annually for Iowa’s network of bridges and roads that are critical for the state’s economy. President Donald Trump continues to call on Congress to pass legislation to generate trillions of dollars to upgrade roads, bridges and other infrastructure.
There’s more good news for Hancock County roads, as Tlach says, construction on County Road R35 (James Avenue) from Britt to Kanawha is expected to begin again soon.
As you’ve probably noticed this winter, the extreme changes in weather, or freeze-thaw cycles, have caused big threats to Iowa’s road conditions. It also results in problems to local drainage districts, Tlach says.