Funding Back For I-74 Bridge - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Funding Back For I-74 Bridge

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U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (left) U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (left)

On the same day that the U.S. Transportation Secretary is in the Quad Cities to tour the I-74 Bridge reconstruction project, the state of Illinois announces it will fund more of its portion of the work. The state announced Friday afternoon that the Illinois Department of Transportation will adjust its multi-year transportation program to include a $72 million commitment to constructing a new Interstate 74 Bridge across the Mississippi River.

Governor Pat Quinn directed IDOT to include funding in the agency's current multi-year funding program for the new bridge. Quinn said the state is committed to bridge improvements to help traffic flow and "boost economic growth in the region."

The funding commitment includes $22 million in Fiscal Year 2017, and an additional $50 million in Fiscal Year 2018. The state says IDOT also has committed more than $34 million to date, for engineering, design and land acquisition for the new structure. The river portion of the bridge is estimated at more than $700 million, with the entire project, including all approach routes and connectors, estimated at more than $1.3 billion.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood joined local lawmakers on a tour at the base of the bridge in Bettendorf. They pointed out how the bridge is out-dated and over capacity. LaHood said it's not what he expected and after touring the country, looking a bridges in almost every state, the I-74 Bridge is one of the worst he's seen.

"When people find out I'm coming to their community, you know, what they want to show me, pot holes and bad bridges. So, I've seen a lot of bad bridges, this is one of the worst," LaHood said.

Most of the funding for the project comes from the federal government, but both Iowa and Illinois have to chip in. Iowa's part of the project will run about $320 million. Illinois' share is $453 million. Just last week, Illinois transportation officials omitted the bridge project from their six year plan, based on the uncertainty of federal funding. Then, the state of Iowa said it would divert its funding to other projects.

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