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Farm News Editorial

By Staff | Jun 26, 2015

The news keeps getting better regarding the more than five-decade-long dream of turning U.S. Highway 20 into a statewide, four-lane thoroughfare.

On June 9, the Iowa Transportation Commission approved a five-year plan – known as the 2016-2020 Iowa Transportation Improvement Program – that includes a commitment to finish four-laning Highway 20 by 2018. The plan also moves forward a number of other important road projects that will significantly improve Hawkeye State roadways.

While nobody loves higher taxes, the added revenues that this year’s 10-cent per gallon fuel tax increase have generated and will produce in the years ahead have made a more aggressive road improvement strategy possible.

Turning Highway 20 into a four-lane roadway spanning the state has been in the works for too long. Making the completion of the project as soon as possible a priority is crucial to the economic progress of northern Iowa. The growth of the biofuels industries already so important to our region will be strengthened by an enhanced transportation system. Having top-notch roads, however, also helps boost the prospects of a wide array of business ventures. It is a crucial ingredient of the game plan for keeping our state prosperous in the 21st century.

“The commitment by Gov. Terry Branstad, the DOT commission and staff to complete the final 30.5 miles as a four-lane on an expedited calendar is welcomed by all,” said Shirley Phillips, the president of the U.S. 20 Corridor Association. “Association members and Iowans along the corridor share in excitement over a final date for the completion of a four-lane Highway 20 across Iowa.”

Farm News heartily concurs. The dream of fully upgrading Highway 20 is on target to become a reality. That’s very good news for northern Iowa.

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