U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx Tours Des Moines’ Southeast Connector Project
DES MOINES, Iowa, May 18, 2015 – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx toured the Southeast (SE) Connector project today and urged Congress to pass a long-term funding bill that can help boost transportation investment in communities like Des Moines to revitalize industrial areas, create jobs and improve roadway safety. Secretary Foxx has been touring projects throughout the country to highlight our nation’s third annual Infrastructure Week, which brings together thousands of stakeholders across the country to highlight the importance of investing in America’s infrastructure, and to encourage Congress to act on a long-term transportation bill.
“Des Moines needs our help connecting travelers on Martin Luther King Parkway to economic opportunity,” said Secretary Foxx. “Improving infrastructure can lead to more economic growth but it requires an investment in our future – the kind of investment we can provide if Congress passes the President’s GROW AMERICA Act.”
Earlier this year, the Administration announced a plan to address the infrastructure deficit with a $478 billion, six-year surface transportation reauthorization proposal, the GROW AMERICA Act. The proposal would make critical investments in roads, bridges and other infrastructure needed to promote long-term economic growth, enhance safety and efficiency and support jobs well into the 21st century. Under the Act, Iowa would receive $633.4 million for highway and transit projects.
In addition, U.S. DOT released a landmark study earlier this year, titled “Beyond Traffic,” that looked at the trends and choices facing American transportation over the next three decades. These included a rapidly growing population, demographic and migratory shifts in rural and urban areas, increasing freight volume, innovations to enhance safety and efficiency, and a transportation system that’s facing more frequent extreme weather events. A key takeaway of the study is that more investment in transportation is needed for the sake of future generations, and the proposals included in GROW AMERICA support that goal.
The SE Connector is a crucial element in a series of infrastructure enhancements for southeast Des Moines, Iowa, an enterprise zone area in need of new investment and development. When completed, the project will extend the existing Martin Luther King Boulevard from Des Moines’ central business district east to U.S. 65.
“This project will help all Des Moines-area residents by providing safer access to jobs,” said Federal Highway Acting Administrator Gregory Nadeau. “Cities nationwide need this kind of investment and hopefully Congress will act to continue long-term investments for America.”
The current phase of the SE Connector, which began in 2013, will extend the road east to Southeast 30th Street and encompasses approximately 2.78 miles. The current project phase is expected to be finished by the fall of 2016. Estimated to cost $51 million, the current phase has relied on $24 million in federal aid funds. Approximately $70 million in additional funding is needed to complete the second phase of the project, which will extend the parkway an additional 2.5 miles to U.S. 65.
– See more at: http://www.dot.gov/briefing-room/us-transportation-secretary-foxx-tours-des-moines%E2%80%99-southeast-connector-project#sthash.1IvtYdyl.dpuf