Aaron Moniza, guest columnist
In light of Governor Kim Reynolds’ Condition of the State address a week ago, the Iowa Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) unequivocally asks Reynolds to make Iowa’s infrastructure needs a high priority as the new legislative session starts. Ongoing national surveys demonstrate that expanding government infrastructure spending is one of the best needs for Americans for the new Congress. Seventy-nine percent of people polled said it is “extremely important.” Yet, it seems to remain a backburner issue.
The need to address Iowa’s infrastructure is clear. Our population is growing, which means more people on the streets, utilizing our parks, and setting off to our schools. In the meantime, our infrastructure is maturing and not ready to help a 21st-century economy. In excess of 20 percent of Iowa’s 24,215structurally deficient according to the Federal Highway Administration — one of the highest percentages in the nation. Driving on roads need of repair costs Iowa drivers $891 million every year in additional vehicle repairs and operating costs — that compares to generally $397 per motorist. Iowa drivers should to before long begin to see the advantages of the 10-penny fuel tax increase, which was established in 2015.
In addition to investing in our streets, Iowans additionally need to guarantee their water infrastructure systems are up to far. Late weather extremes, becoming residential and industrial demands, and the growing posted presented by intemperate nutrients in the state’s conduits are straining resources among the state’s almost 1,900 water utilities. In her discourse, Reynolds mentioned the water-quality bill that was enacted last year, which built up a water quality infrastructure fund inside the state’s Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. Our leaders must expand on that momentum. Water quality is one of the primary needs Iowa agricultural leaders want to see legislatures focus on in the beginning of this legislative session, and we need a collaborative approach that involves all stakeholders in finding a solution.
On the off chance that we want to continue bringing more people into Iowa and want our economy to grow, the governor to focus on investing in our state’s infrastructure this year,and we urge Iowans to reach out to their representatives and tell them to fund infrastructure in 2019. • Aaron Moniza is advocacy captain of the Iowa Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers.