Bob Krause identifies10 key transportation projects for Iowa

“This is admittedly an ambitious plan"

James Q. Lynch
Published: December 28 2013 | 6:00 am - Updated: 6 March 2014 | 11:06 pm in
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Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Bob Krause has laid out his “top 10” highway and rail projects to modernize Iowa’s transportation system.

“This is admittedly an ambitious plan,” said Krause who has an exploratory committee for the 2014 Democratic nomination for governor. “However, we must have a vision if we are to know where we are going of Iowa.”

Krause, who has a background in transportation planning, said the continued growth and modernization of both highway and rail systems is critical to Iowa’s future.

“I have selected these projects because I want to strengthen all of Iowa’s urban centers, and give quality connectivity through underserved rural areas,” the former state legislator said. “All of this will lay the base for future growth in Iowa.”

Here are his “Next 10 Key Connectors:”

State Capitols Y: This is based on enhancing the connections from Jefferson City, Missouri, to St. Paul, Minnesota, with an additional connection to Des Moines. Highway 63 will be a major focus of this project. Missouri has placed a priority on a central Missouri North-South freeway, and this is an excellent opportunity for Iowa to create an additional major corridor into our state that will support not only Des Moines, but also Ottumwa, Waterloo and possibly the Rathbun Lake economic development area.

Complete Highway 20: Terry Branstad has been governor off-and-on since 1983 and has always promised to deliver on the completion of Highway 20, but never has. I think that 31 years is enough time. Until Highway 20 is completed through to Sioux City and into Nebraska for an ultimate link with I-80 as projected, the system will not be a significant reliever of I-80 traffic.

Six Lane the Quad Cities to Iowa City I-80 Corridor: Traffic growth on this corridor has been significant, and the road is often bumper-to-bumper. It is likely that Iowa will need to six lane other portions of I-80 in the future, but this is an important first step.

Build additional Mississippi River Bridge capacity in the Quad Cities: The I-80 Mississippi River Bridge is becoming a severe bottleneck both to traffic and to economic development. A new bridge is vital.

Four Lane Highway 30 from Clinton to I-380 in Cedar Rapids: And work with Illinois to expedite a four-lane connection from Highway 34 to Clinton. A four lane for this section of road will spark economic development for Cedar Rapids and will also act as a reliever and emergency bypass for I-80.

Northeast Des Moines Bypass: Complete the freeway loop from the Altoona area through to the Ankeny area. This will serve as a reliever for I-80 traffic and will also enhance sequential growth in the Des Moines metro area.

Build a Supplemental Span to the Julien Dubuque Mississippi River Bridge: Land is purchased and blueprints have been developed. But plans for a supplemental span have been on hold for 10 years. The bridge is an important part of the overall strategy to develop Highway 20 as an Iowa-Illinois through corridor.

Build the Southwest Arterial in Dubuque: The hilly topography of Dubuque limits the opportunity to place corridors to regulate traffic in and around the city. The Southwest Arterial is necessary to prevent traffic problems in the historic downtown area.

Negotiate with Illinois to Develop Highway 34 Connector from Burlington to I-74: This is not an Iowa construction project, but is very important to Southeast Iowa economic development. Fully developed, it becomes the shortest four-lane route between the southeast United States and Northwest. Iowa needs to work with Illinois to develop this.

Expand AMTRAK through Central Iowa to Omaha: The Iowa House has been short-sighted in refusing to fund the first stretch of this Amtrak route. The refusal is even more frustrating because studies have shown that the first leg of this route has a favorable benefit-cost ratio. Beyond the convenience of linking Iowa, Omaha and Chicago, there is long range strategic merit in developing this Amtrak corridor for the day when high speed trains will come and Iowa will need a candidate line for upgrading.

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