New trails, new bike paths, more sidewalks and overall safety. Those are some of the new improvements coming to three Iowa cities.
Last Thursday, the US Department of Transportation announced that Muscatine, Waterloo and Dubuque were awarded grants to renovate transportation in the cities, and, in the process, make certain areas safer and more affordable.
In Muscatine, the money will go to the Isett Avenue/Cypress Street Corridor in the downtown area. Potential improvements could be an extension of the multi-use trail, sidewalks, landscaping and bridge repair.
In Waterloo, the plan is to improve and rejuvenate nearly three miles of La Porte in South Waterloo, near the Interstate. Those improvements include sidewalks, bike trails, lighting, benches and a bus shelter. The idea is to make it safer for people to walk and bike in the area by creating space designated for them.
The plan for Dubuque includes an overpass for pedestrians and vehicles at 14th Street in the downtown area, and changes to streets to create a pedestrian/bike path. The goal is to make more options for safe access to employment centers and to revitalize the surrounding neighborhoods.
The Dubuque project is also going to promote local hiring and apprenticeships.
Iowa received a total of $24.7 million for these projects, and the money comes from the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program. The US Department of Transportation judged projects based on how they promoted safety, quality of life, economic competitiveness, and how it connected communities, among other things.
The US DOT also considered how projects would improve accessibility for travelers, bolster supply chain efficiency, and support racial equity and economic growth, especially among disadvantaged communities.
The 2022 grants are for investments to support roads, bridges, transit, rail, ports, or intermodal transportation. Several provisions have local hire provisions and emphasize apprenticeships.
Increased funding for the RAISE program comes from the bipartisan infrastructure bill, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed by President Joe Biden in November last year.
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