U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx, was invited to see conditions of the I-74 Bridge Thursday morning.
Officials gathered in Moline after for a discussion on federal funding.
Both states of Iowa and Illinois are on board with plans to rebuild the I-74 Bridge. The main push is to make sure they continue to receive federal funding.
Representative Cheri Bustos (D-IL) says, “Here is the reality of what we’re facing. We’ve got a Highway Trust Fund that will be depleted in August or September and we have to be able to come together and say this is the funding resource we’re going to use.”
Without the U.S. Highway Trust Fund, Doug Rick of Iowa Department of Transportation says there wouldn’t be enough state money to fund the 1.4 billion dollar project alone. “That 1.4 billion dollars includes everything, all our costs for engineering, for construction, for the environmental studies – everything.”
Around 85 million dollars has already been set aside for the project, but officials agree that they still need help from the nation’s capital.
Representative Dave Loebsack (D-IA) says, “This is a great example of how Washington has to get its act together to move forward – to move this economy forward, locally as well.”
The U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx, came to the Quad Cities to see the condition of the bridge for himself. He says, “What I observed was a lack of a shoulder, it’s very narrow on that bridge, and I can understand why the community wants to come together to see the bridge get expanded.”
There is concrete crumbling, no shoulders, narrow lanes, and one fender bender can shut the entire bridge down. They say the bridge is now obsolete.
Originally, the bridge was built to sustain light traffic, but now takes tens of thousands of commuters every day.
Officials say rebuilding I-74 is critical for the safety, economy, and future of the Quad Cities.
Foxx says, “This bridge is clearly one that needs to be fixed, repaired or replaced and it’s something that we are very focused on. But we can only help as much as we have resources to be able to help.
Foxx, Bustos and Loebsack are working to push the funding through Washington.
If all goes as planned with the federal funding, they expect the multi-phase project to be completed by year 2020 – starting from construction in Moline, then Bettendorf, then starting in the river from 2017 to 2018, and working on traffic lanes from 2019 to 2020.