Iowa Gets $23 Million in Federal Disaster Aid

October 28, 2008

Iowa is set to receive another $23 million in federal money to repair flood damaged roads and bridges.

The funds are part of $690 million being divvied up among 28 states by the U.S. Department of Transportation for disaster relief.

The bulk of Iowa’s money will go to repairs from this summer’s record flooding, but there is also about $156,000 for repairs from storms in the summer of 2007 and $584,000 for repairs after winter storms in February 2007.

The money is being used three ways, said Iowa Department of Transportation spokeswoman Dena Gray-Fisher, including reimbursement for projects already completed, permanent repairs to infrastructure and flood mitigation.

“Some of that is to reimburse either the state, county or city for money that was spent making temporary repairs or emergency repairs,” Gray-Fisher said. “The rest of the money is to be used to make permanent repairs, work that hasn’t been able to be done yet because we didn’t have the money to do it.”

Hard-hit Cedar Rapids submitted a laundry list of municipal street needs that totaled about $2 million. Counties in eastern, southern and central Iowa also got most of the money they sought, mainly for repairs to county roads.

Doug Hecox, a Federal Highway Administration spokesman, said the money is intended to keep the country’s highway system intact.

“The whole point is, something catastrophic that’s going to affect the American highway system needs to be addressed,” Hecox said. “This helps ensure that states don’t have to pick that up.”

Other Midwestern states getting federal money for 2008 flooding include Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin. Iowa got the most money, followed by $20 million for Wisconsin.

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