DES MOINES | Sioux City leaders will lobby at the state capitol Wednesday to push Gov. Terry Branstad and other key officials to speed up the four-laning of U.S. Highway 20 in western Iowa.
Forty-four miles of highway, from Moville east to Early, remain to be widened to four lanes, at an estimated cost of $375 million. The future of the project will be a focus of a morning meeting with Iowa Department of Transportation Director Paul Trombino and other DOT officials.
The Siouxland Chamber of Commerce, as part of its annual lobbying trip to Des Moines, is coordinating the session with the US 20 Corridor Association, the Chamber's Sam Wagner said.
The US 20 group will join with Iowa highway associations and coalitions, and various industry groups for a Transportation Day at the Statehouse Wednesday.
“Every year the Legislature does not act to increase revenue for Iowa’s transportation infrastructure simply compounds the already devastating problem we face,” said U.S. 20 Corridor Association President Shirley Phillips. "There are many proposals for addressing the funding shortfall out there. It’s inexcusable for our elected leaders to make a deplorable situation worse by not acting.”
The Siouxland Chamber, which describes completion of the Highway 20 project as "critical" to economic development, supports increased funding for and prioritization of the Access Iowa Highways, which includes U.S. 20.
About 35 local business and government leaders are signed up for the Chamber's 38th annual Des Moines Legislative Day on Wednesday.
In the afternoon, the delegation will meet with Branstad, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, House and Senate leaders, and members of the Sioux City area legislative delegation.
Iowa Economic Development Authority Director Debi Durham, a former Siouxland Chamber president, will be keynote speaker at a noon lunch at the Court Avenue Restaurant & Brewing Co.
During the trip, Chamber members will ask lawmakers for support on a variety of issues, including simplification of the state's tax code, Wagner said. Iowa's six corporate income tax brackets, which rise to a top rate of 12 percent, "hobble economic development efforts," according to the organization's position paper.
One of the Chamber's top legislative priorities this year is for lawmakers to increase funding to the Iowa Poison Control Center in Sioux City, and make the support more stable.