Siouxland leaders head to the nation's capital - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Siouxland leaders head to the nation's capital


Siouxland leaders have a pretty full plate this week in Washington.  They leave over the next two days for the annual Siouxland Steak Dinner.  Many of the issues they'll be cutting into look familiar.

"Transportation is always big. For economic growth you always need a good transportation system,” explained Barbara Sloniker, the Executive Vice President of The Siouxland Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber hopes a visit to the nation's capitol is the extra push lawmakers need to finish the last 32 miles left of a four-laned Highway 20. This year, they're also tacking on requests for an expressway in Northeast Nebraska.

"If you look at places that are really thriving, they have an East-West Interstate and a North-South Interstate. It's just easier to move goods and people, in and out of markets,” Sloniker pointed out.

Sioux City's number one priority is transportation, too. A $19.1 million bridge over railroad tracks on 18th Street could relieve traffic congestion between Stuben Street and Floyd Boulevard. The project is similar to the Outer Drive bridge but on a smaller scale and a quarter of the cost.

“I think this will be easier because we won't be spanning the entire Hoeven corridor,” said Sioux City Community Development Operations Manager, Jeff Hanson.

Down the road, a major project is underway to relocate sewer and water lines as Interstate 29 is widened. It's a federal mandate that the city pay to move the utilities, but their $25 million dollar estimate has ballooned to over $45 million.

“It's not one of those dream projects where we want to construct a new road or whatever it may be. It's a mandate that we have to locate these utilities so I think there will be support out there to assist us,” Hanson pointed out.

As Washington continues to try to trim the fat, Hanson has noticed cuts to those who need it to most. Community Development block grants used to boost blighted neighborhoods have been reduced by 26% in recent years. Money to build low income housing and dropped my 28%.

"We're not able to do as many projects as we did in the past. It limits our future expansion into any other neighborhoods,” Hanson explained.

Both he and Sloniker hope that a better business climate means a bigger slice of the pie for Siouxland.

“We help ourselves. We're not asking for handouts,” said Sloniker.

Officials with the Sioux City Community School District will also be in attendance, pushing for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Meanwhile, city officials are hoping to get some help on a storm water drainage project to get homes and businesses in Leeds out of the flood zone.

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