Dubuque's plan for using stimulus money - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque's plan for using stimulus money

Dubuque (KWWL) -- With the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed and finalized, Iowa will get more than $350 million to use for road and highway construction projects. One third of that money will go to local governments to use on local projects.

Dubuque will get $2.9 million, and officials have full local control over spending the money. The only requirement is that half of the money must be for projects contracted out in the first 120 days. For Dubuque, that means upgrading Locust Street, by resurfacing several blocks and upgrading several stop lights.

The Locust Street project to improve traffic flow has been in the works for a while, which made it an easy project to get the ball rolling with the federal money. Resurfacing Locust between 9th and 17th will cost around $600,000 and installing new stop lights will cost around $900,000.

The other nearly million and a half will be used on several other projects including widening Mud Lake Road, a new bike and walking trail by the Northwest Arterial, resurfacing Key West Drive, moving the White Water Creek Bridge to the Dubuque Industrial Center West, and improving Monastary Road.

Those projects were already planned and budgeted before the bill, so now that money will go toward the construction of another long-planned project.

"That in turn will have a net effect on the Southwest Arterial project. That will then free up local money that can be shifted and allocated toward the Southwest Arterial," city engineer Bob Schiesl said.

The Arterial is in the final planning and property aquisition phase, and this added money is another step in moving ahead.

"You'll see that it's going to have not just a short-term economic benefit to the city of Dubuque in terms of the construction jobs created, but also all along that corridor, businesses will crop up, people will be working in these businesses, and it will have a stimulus effect long term on the economy in Dubuque," Representative Bruce Braley said.

Braley said money for the road construction projects should be distributed in the next three weeks.

The recovery act also includes an additional $1.5 billion to be distributed. Dubuque officials plan to apply for a grant for some of that money help with the Southwest Arterial construction.

Online Reporter:  Jamie Grey

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