Economic development happens where infrastructure is available to serve the needs of the project. Roads and bridges, water and sewer, energy and telecommunications infrastructure all require long term, reliable investment – investment in which Iowa has dedicated minimal resources. ICA supports regular review of Iowa’s infrastructure needs at the state and local levels. We also encourage long-term planning and examination of innovative funding mechanisms and delivery methods, such as public-private partnerships and alternative project delivery methods that protect taxpayers and make the necessary resources available for these signiﬁcant capital investments, including aligning with potential federal infrastructure initiatives.
Iowa should join other states that have taken port authorities beyond maritime commerce and used them as strong elements of successful economic development and placemaking strategies. This tool allows communities to better work together on regionally-transformative commerce-focused, economic development or quality of life projects by better delineating risk between jurisdictions and merging financing similar to how other infrastructure projects are deployed. This can be done without allowing for any new levying authority.
As more businesses focus on decarbonization and meeting sustainability goals, infrastructure investment should also consider sustainability as a way to attract business from outside of the state and country. Iowa is already a leader in renewable energy development that has led to attraction of new business. Future infrastructure policy investments should consider sustainability in regards to water usage and other metrics as a tool to attract investment.
In order to attract the best talent and compete globally, highspeed broadband is necessary across the state in both rural and urban communities. Policymakers need to continue to ensure a fostering regulatory environment and resources for broader deployment across the state.
Aging infrastructure and mandated improvements have the potential to increase rates for the provision of water and wastewater service. Aﬀordable rates and the capacity for growth are key elements in attracting and retaining businesses. ICA continues to support additional funding sources and ﬂexible regulatory policies that suﬃciently address necessary water infrastructure improvements in the future, which register in the billions of dollars across the state.
ICA encourages a continued conversation about the long-term funding needs of the Road Use Tax Fund in order to sustain Iowa’s transportation infrastructure. Additionally, ICA reiterates its call for a reexamination of the distribution of those dollars to follow the TIME-21 formula more closely.
ICA also supports investment in the improvement of Iowa’s railways and funding of intermodal rail and transportation hubs. ICA also remains committed to leveraging federal dollars to invest in passenger rail and other strategic transportation infrastructure.
Air service has the potential for an outsized impact in the attraction and retention of economic opportunities. At a minimum, the state should partner with communities to sustain current funding and service levels. In terms of future growth, there are substantial resources needed to upgrade our airport infrastructure.