Quad Cities metropolitan authority would allow bi-state funding for projects

Published: Jan. 14, 2020 at 10:31 PM CST
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The Quad Cities Chamber wants to create a regional metropolitan authority to serve the entire Quad Cities.

If created, the Quad Cities Regional Metropolitan Authority can collect funding from multiple sources and apply it to projects on both sides of the river. Right now most funding has to stay in one state, but the authority would allow funding to cross the bi-state region.

"Fund could be used for riverfront development, including flood mitigation, regional planning and economic development, transportation and infrastructure improvements, cultural and recreational amenities, education, and natural resources," Paul Rumler, from the QC Chamber, said.

The Quad Cities Metropolitan Authority reduces restrictions on how and where money can be used, especially when crossing state lines.

"We don't have the jurisdiction that allows us to do it regionally. We have to do it city by city or county by county. This would change that game entirely and allow us to think and act as a region," Rumler said.

Funding sources could be from philanthropic, private, donations, grants, or tax revenues. If the board decides on using tax revenue for a project, both Scott and Rock Island County citizens would have to approve it through a vote.

The process of creating the metropolitan authority has been in the making for several years. The chamber has partnered with city leaders, local organizations, and businesses.

"From John Deere's perspective, we think this is really important as we think about how do we recruit that next generation of talent. And how do we retain that talent we already have here in the community," Mara Downing, of Deere & Company, said.

To officially create the authority, approval from President Trump is needed.

"Both states need to pass legislation, Congress needs to ratify, and then the president needs to sign that," Rumler said.

The Quad Cities Chamber plans to work with legislators in Iowa and Illinois to officially file a bill. Both states will need to pass similar versions. If an amendment is made in one state, it must be made in the other. Once passed, it heads to Washington D.C.

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