Des Moines, Iowa – A new report from the American Society of Civil Engineers gives Iowa infrastructure a “mediocre” but passing grade — and suggests raising taxes to improve water quality and finance improvements to bridges, airports and other critical infrastructure.
Joshua Trygstad, a civil engineer at a consulting firm in Grimes, is president of the society’s Iowa section.
Christy VanBuskirk, an engineer from Hedrick, was chair of the group that evaluated 12 different forms of infrastructure and came up with the grades.
The engineers noted many levees in urban areas have been improved over the past decade, but it’s been difficult to get grants to improve levees in rural areas.
Aaron Moniza, a civil engineer from Cedar Rapids, says reliable funding for new levee construction as well as improvements to existing systems are essential.
The group also suggests the standards for designing and inspecting levees should be uniform throughout the country. The lowest grade — a “D” — went to the more than four-thousand dams on Iowa rivers and streams.
The engineers warn the frequency and severity of flooding means more “emergency action plans” must be prepared to deal with the failure of dams, including the locks and dams on the Mississippi River.
The group supports raising the state sales tax to help finance water quality improvements and the civil engineers suggest the state’s gas tax should regularly increase at the rate of inflation.