Iowa DOT budget finalized at $4.85 below request; may impact staffing

Iowa_welcome_sign_2008The Iowa Department of Transportation’s budget was finalized by state legislators, providing only half ($4.85 million) of an extra $9.7 million the agency requested. The increase was requested in order to help cover staffing costs related to pay increases, state employee insurance, and collective bargaining agreements, according to a report by the Des Moines Register.

Iowa DOT officials say the smaller increase could lead to layoffs, but Gov. Terry Branstad says he believes the agency can make do and agency Director Paul Trombino is “innovative enough” to avoid staff reductions.

According to the report, Iowa DOT believes 400 jobs could be at risk between now and 2020, with an impact on construction project inspections, maintenance duties, and the issuing of driver’s licenses.

The funding bill, SF 2320, totals $373 million and was approved by the state House 53-36 and the Senate 26-19. Legislators didn’t want to boost the amount due to last year’s gas tax increase of 10 cents per gallon. More than $800 million worth of transportation construction is scheduled in the state this year.

More details on the legislation, including video of floor discussion, is available here.