Strong Infrastructure is essential to the economy, trade, and vitality of our nation. In Iowa, it is key for moving our agricultural products and manufactured goods to domestic and international markets, and getting Iowans efficiently and safely to their destinations. Iowa also has a robust trucking industry and our major interstates are heavily used by truckers from across the nation. Senator Grassley pursues sound, sustainable infrastructure policies that provide certainty for planning at the state level as well as Iowa communities and businesses.
Infrastructure policy is advanced through regular renewals of multiple bills, such as the surface transportation bill, aviation bill, and the Water Resources Development Act. Senator Grassley uses his leadership positions to help advance programmatic reforms that provide common sense policy solutions to aid Iowans and shape tax policy to keep infrastructure trust funds in the black.
One such ongoing example is the modernization of our locks and dams on the Upper Mississippi River. Multiple locks are well beyond their design life and cannot accommodate modern tows, significantly slowing down the movement of our goods and services on the river. Senator Grassley has helped lead a coalition of diverse river stakeholders to get the initial authorization for the lock and dam modernization signed into law and ensure that the preconstruction engineering and design work is completed so the project is ready to go to construction in the next several years.
Ensuring Iowans have access to quality and reliable broadband services is a key issue for Senator Grassley and he is concerned that many Iowans still lack access to quality broadband services. Senator Grassley supports utilizing all forms of technology to address Iowans’ needs. Senator Grassley has championed small providers in Iowa having access to federal funds to provide service to rural areas. He has supported legislative efforts and worked with the Federal Communications Commission to provide more granular data to make sure unserved areas in Iowa are correctly identified so money can flow through the FCC and US Department of Agriculture to connect all of Iowa.
Iowa also deals with many natural disasters each year. Senator Grassley works hard to help the state and each affected community cut through the bureaucratic red tape of federal disaster programs. Senator Grassley also helps communities identify and work to get resources through existing federal programs so they recover even stronger and mitigate future flooding damage.
One of the most significant victories for Iowa was in relation to the floods of 2008. Most of Iowa suffered from devastating floods, tornadoes, and storms and two-thirds of the state was covered in water. In Cedar Rapids alone, flooding claimed ten square miles and resulted in more than $5.4 billion in losses. Senator Grassley was a vocal advocate, with the rest of the Iowa delegation, for disaster relief funds on behalf of Cedar Rapids. After many meetings, letters, hearings, and phone calls with all relevant federal parties, the Army Corps of Engineers announced it was providing $117.5 million to move forward with disaster recovery efforts with funding allocated to the Corps through a disaster supplemental appropriations bill approved by Congress. This Corps project is a part of a larger city effort and has already provided flood protection to vulnerable parts of the city and will provide permanent flood protection for the entire community when the full project is completed.