Monday, January 12, 2009

Messenger: Keep funding for U.S. 20

The conservative editorial page of The Fort Dodge Messenger may be for fiscal restraint where other communities' projects are concerned. But the paper makes a case (and a good one) for moving ahead with funding of the four-laning of U.S. 20.

Despite the harsh financial realities 2009 poses, some long-term projects deserve to be pursued aggressively. Of particular importance are investments in the state's infrastructure that will yield benefits far into the future. A good example is the four-laning of U.S. Highway 20 statewide. This roadway is of enormous importance to the economic prospects of the counties in northern Iowa. Keeping this project moving forward as rapidly as possible is vital. There may be a temptation for legislators to allow highway projects to stall given the tight budgetary environment. That would be a mistake. If it is necessary to increase gasoline taxes a small amount to keep road construction on track, that should be given careful consideration. At the national level, the incoming Obama administration's apparent enthusiasm for infrastructure investments may provide an opportunity to help pay for some of these efforts with federal dollars. That also should be explored thoroughly.

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