One of the highlights of the 2018 Legislative Session from MBI’s perspective was the Legislature’s commitment to funding “major maintenance” in the RIIF budget. RIIF stands for Rebuild Iowa’s Infrastructure Fund. RIIF is funded by gaming and casino revenues, and is the primary source for public infrastructure-related expenditures. The General Assembly in 1995 created RIIF to fund such projects, and MBI has always fought hard to protect the fund and ensure that the limited money is spent appropriately. According to the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) who these projects fall under, major maintenance is defined as:
“expenditures made beyond the regular, normal upkeep of physical properties for the repair or replacement of failed or failing building components as necessary to return a facility to its currently intended use, to prevent further damage, or to make it compliant with changes in laws, regulations, codes or standards.”
As of February 2018, unfunded major maintenance projects under the State’s purview exceeded $320 million, according to DAS. Past history has shown an insufficient level of funding that has declined for major maintenance, when compared to needs:
Fiscal Year 2015: $14 million
Fiscal Year 2016: $14.6 million
Fiscal Year 2017: $9.5 million
Fiscal Year 2018: $11.5 million
However, MBI supported efforts of lawmakers this session to increase the level of funding to chip away at the gap. We are encouraged and pleased to report that the Legislature put
towards major maintenance this year. They also made a $20 million commitment for the next four years. That equates to over $100 million for the next five years. They also included language that prioritized the repair of the State Historical Museum’s roof at $3.3 million. This is definitely a worthy project in desperate need of fixing.
While this will not completely solve the problem, we are appreciative of lawmakers making this a priority. A special thanks for Sen. Craig Johnson (R-Independence) and Rep. Dan Huseman (R-Aurelia) for their leadership as joint Chairs of the Transportation, Infrastructure, and Capital Appropriations Subcommittee. We look forward to working with them next year on securing funding for the renovation and expansion of the University of Northern Iowa’s ITC Center.