March 26, 2015 by Douglas Burns
Des Moines—U.S. Highway 30 Coalition of Iowa members traveled last week to the State Capitol armed with economic-development announcements and population data showing a growing corridor stretching across Iowa.
Their mission: gain support for the full four-laning of 331 miles of Highway 30 in Iowa.
Representative of counties served by the federal route joined Wednesday in making a collective pitch to four-lane existing two-lane sections of the roadway during U.S. Highway 30 Day—an annual event designed to draw attention to the potential along the highway.
“We really want to have our road built,” said Edith Pfiefer, of Clinton, president of the Highway 30 Coalition of Iowa. “We have waited our turn while Highway 20 went ahead.”
Jefferson City Councilman Larry Teeples urged the DOT to analyze the effects of new development in Green County—the construction of a $40 million casino, an associated hotel, a new Hy-Vee store and a $22.5 million hospital expansion—on traffic in the region.
The Iowa Department of Transportation is expected to take traffic counts in Greene County following the opening of the Wild Rose Jefferson casino on Aug. 1.
Advocates from Greene and Carroll counties said prioritizing that corridor makes sense.
Carroll Mayor Adam Schweers discussed robust potential for the city’s eastern businesses, with growth planned at Pella Corp., American Home Shield—and Farner-Bocken standing to benefit greatly in its trucking from four-laning.
Four-laning Carroll to Glidden is a priority for the coalition, which regularly lobbies state and federal lawmakers, and meets with DOT officials.
The Carroll-to-Glidden section has the most traffic of any section of Highway 30 in Iowa that remains two lane. The average daily traffic count on U.S. 30 just east of Grant Road is Carroll stands at 13,600 vehicles.
In eastern Iowa, there’s a strong case for more development on Highway 30, say advocates. Cedar Rapids handles 40 percent of the grain processed in Iowa.
“We have a huge amount of farmers who truck their gran to Cedar Rapids every day,” said Dawn Smith, a Cedar County supervisor.
Debi Durham, the director of the Iowa Department of Economic Development Authority, said she believes in four-laning U.S. 0 across Iowa.
“We also argue that transportation is critical for growth,” Durham said.
Part of the 30 coalition’s mission was to thank lawmakers for support of the 10-cent-per-gallon gas-tax increase that went into effect March 1.
The tax increase, over time, will free up funding for Highway 30 work, said Cord Overton, a policy adviser to Gov. Terry Branstad, The governor has made it clear that Highway 30 is a vital corridor, Overton said.
The coalition met with Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal, D-Council Bluffs: Bill Dix of Shell Rock, the Iowa Senate Republican leader; and Mark Smith, the House Minority leader and a Marshalltown Democrat.
Courtesy of the Jefferson Herald, 3/26/15.