Iowa to Trump: We want better locks and dams and flood protection

Photo courtesy: MGN

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) - Better Locks on the Mississippi River, water quality and Cedar Rapids Flood protection top the priorities list Iowa sent to President-elect Trump.

The Trump Transition Team requested a list of infrastructure priorities from states. The Governor's Office put together a four-page summary of its priorities from the federal government.

Those priorities in order:
1.) Modernize locks and dams on the Upper Mississippi River
2.) A Lewis and Clark Regional Water System
3.) Cedar Rapids Flood Protection Funding
4.) Interstate 80/380 Interchange Rebuild
5.) Des Moines Airport Terminal Upgrades

The President-elect says he will use the priorities lists to help shape his $1 trillion infrastructure plan. it's unclear how the administration will prioritize projects among the states.

Iowa's top priority focuses on increased use of the Upper Mississippi River as a shipping channel. It notes more than 60% of the nation's grain exports traverse the Mississippi River. The crux of the request is actually centered on a lock in the St. Louis area. The state describes the lock as being at high risk of failure, which would shut down the flow of goods from Iowa down the Mississippi. The state also notes "an extensive list of deferred maintenance and system enhancement projects on the entire lock and dam system in the Upper Mississippi."

The Lewis and Clark Water System would provide clean water to an area that includes northwest Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota. It has been awaiting federal funding since 2000 and still needs $198 million for completion.

"Without the (Lewis and Clark system) water, the next drought could have significant negative consequences for the economy of the three-
state region," the state warns in its request.

The request for funding for a Cedar Rapids flood mitigation system gained renewed importance when the Cedar River flooded again last September, though far below 2008 levels. The $630 million project already has funding from the state and city but needs $230 million of promised federal funding.

The request for a new Interstate 80/380 interchange asks for an influx of funding to speed up the project. The Iowa Department of Transportation has plans to rework the interchange over 7 years but federal funding could open up the project for bids as early as this year.

"This acceleration would eliminate the choke point three years earlier than scheduled, prevent approximately 200 crashes, and would save one million hours of productivity lost in traffic delays, providing significant benefits to the region and to the extensive amount of freight traffic traversing the country on I-80," the request states.