I-Jobs initiative a hot topic leading up to election - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

I-Jobs initiative a hot topic leading up to election

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CORALVILLE (KWWL)-- First Avenue in Coralville is getting a major facelift.

The $27 million four-phased project is working to protect businesses and homes in the event of future flooding.

City officials say it's been made possible by Gov. Chet Culver's I-Jobs initiative.

"Without the I-Jobs project we would not be able to do it at all.  It's just too expensive to do," said Coralville Mayor Jim Fausett. 

I-Jobs is even being heralded on a national level.

The National Chamber Foundation, an independent, non-profit affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, recognized I-Jobs as a model for fostering conditions for job growth.

"The fact that Iowa can make this movement forward under difficult circumstances is a great lesson," said Susan Reardon, executive director of the national chamber foundation.

Of course the I-Jobs initiative has had plenty of detractors.

"It may provide jobs for a few people in the construction industry in the short term, but it is not long term economic development and in the long run will cost the tax payers more than the benefit it provides," said Deborah Thornton, former co-chair of the Johnson County Republican Party.

With elections nearing, a war of words has begun between Republicans and Democrats.

During a campaign stop Tuesday in Iowa City, former governor and front-runner in next week's Republican primary, Terry Branstad called the I-Jobs program a "folly."

To that, Gov. Culver fired back Wednesday.

"I say it's our duty.  IJOBS is our duty that we owe the citizens of this state.  It shows how out of touch Terry Branstad is," Culver said.

As I-Jobs pumps $830 million the next two years into the state's infrastructure, it will certainly be a hot topic leading up to the election for governor.

Online Reporter:  Jason Epner

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