DES MOINES, IOWA — The state of Iowa has an opportunity to repair transportation infrastructure, like bridges, after a new federal program was announced on Friday.
The new Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-Saving Transportation (PROTECT) Formula program allocated $7.3 billion in federal funds to all 50 states over five years. Iowa has $93 million in total available over the next several fiscal years, with $18 million for the federal fiscal year of 2022.
The United States Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, (D) was in Utah with the state’s Governor Spencer Cox, (R) to announce the new program.
“And now through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law we are bringing resources to help those communities deliver,” said Buttigieg. “This is about protecting people and jobs and the infrastructure those people in jobs count on from the immediate threats of extreme weather.”
The funding was made available by President Biden’s Infrastructure Law, which passed with support from both parties last November. Each state was given a certain amount of dollars from the program that can be used over the next half decade.
Each state has the ability to decide how they want to go about spending the federal dollars, but it must serve the purpose of making transportation infrastructure more resilient to future weather events and natural disasters. That means upgrading roads, highways, bridges, walkways, etc., with the goal of combating the effects of climate change.
“Transportation is not just put at risk by climate change, it’s also the biggest contributor to climate change. Which means the transportation should aspire to be a biggest part of the solution,” said Buttigieg. “We don’t have time to debate whether this is urgent anymore. We have to get to work and we are in states across the country and communities across the nation.”
Iowa now has $18 million to spend before September 30 of this year, which is when the federal fiscal year ends. The Iowa Department of Transportation told WHO 13 that the program information came in on Friday afternoon, and they were not certain on how the funds would be used yet, but there will be more information made available in the future.