(The Center Square) – The Iowa Department of Transportation may receive $2.9 million less in funding from the previous year while gaining nine more full-time positions should the fiscal year 2022 appropriations bill pass.
The Iowa Senate unanimously passed its version of the bill, SF592, on Wednesday without discussion on the floor.
Proposed increases within the bill include appropriations for facilities maintenance, salt use, and information security fees.
The Highway Division would receive an additional $4.1 million for a total appropriation of $271.7 million. In addition to developing, operating, and maintaining highways and bridges, the Highway Division is in charge of roadside management, rest area administration, and roadway safety.
“This increase is due to an increase in salt usage, more consistent replacement of snow plow blades, and additional FTE [full-time equivalent] positions for project development, and field construction inspection,” the legislative notes on the bill said.
An increase of $427,000 for utility service payments to the Department of Administrative Services will pay information security fees to the Office of the Chief Information Officer.
Budgeting for facilities maintenance projects noted in the bill includes $5.3 million for major improvements such as adding “features, such as brine buildings, mechanics’ bays and other additions” to department facilities and $4.7 million for routine maintenance, including roofing, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning improvements.
It also includes $400,000 – an increase of $150,000 since last year – from the Primary Road Fund for maintenance of rest area facilities. The Road Use Tax Fund would provide $400,000 for the maintenance of motor vehicle enforcement division field facility maintenance projects.
Payments to the Department of Administrative Services would decrease by $762,000 since fiscal year 2021 “due to fewer worker’s compensation claims.” Funding would decrease by $124,000 for the Statewide Interoperable Communications System, while appropriations from the Primary Road Fund to the Materials and Equipment Revolving Fund would decrease by $2.3 million.
“The Fund pays for materials and supplies, inventoried stock supplies, maintenance and operational costs of equipment, and equipment replacements,” the note on the Senate bill said. “This appropriation has been used to purchase DOT heavy duty trucks on a shorter replacement schedule. As more of the fleet is replaced, the need for additional funds has declined.”
The Iowa Department of Transportation and the Associated General Contractors of Iowa lobbied in favor of both the House (HF863) and Senate versions of the bill.
The appropriations decisions come amid national discussions on infrastructure spending that follow President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan proposal.