I participated in the D.C. lobbying trip Thursday and Friday with the QC Development Group. The trip included 75 or so folks from the Quad Cities and surrounding communities. Meetings were set with staff and our local representatives and senators. The meetings were an opportunity for QCA folks to make our partners at the federal level aware of funding needs for a number of projects. Senators Harkin, Grassley, Durbin, and Obama participated; as did Representatives Braley and Hare. The Davenport group numbered around 10 and we lobbied on six key projects for the city. The projects were ranked in order of importance for the city. A quick review of our top-six, for FY-08, follows:
#1 - WESTSIDE DIVERSION TUNNEL: The city is seeking $5.528-M of federal funding to bid the first phase. The tunnel is required to allow for development across more than 20-sq. miles of the city.
#2 - FLOODPLAIN DEMONSTRATION/CENTENNIAL PARK - request $12-M.
#3 - TRANSIT GARAGE - request $5.1-M.
#4 - FARMERS MARKET - request $250,000.
#5 - BI-STATE WATER TAXI & PIERS FOR RI AND DAV.: $3.5-M.
#6 - AIRPORT TERMINAL - request $1.1-M.
Of these six, I thought the most important (as of right now) for our city was the Diversion Tunnel and Transit Garage. The reason being both of these need the most immediate attention. The city has a very limited amount of space available for any sort of development right now. The sewer tunnel would open a huge opportunity for us in NW Davenport and would take pressure off of our older lines, namely the Jersey Ridge line. The transit garage is also important. Our contract with Metrolink expires in 2010. We should move our garage to our side of the river (it currently sits in RI) - we could save $200,000 per year by bringing this operation "in house." Plus this will give us greater control of expanding our CitiBus services throughout the city. I was glad to see the diversion tunnel ranked first. We need it and we need help due the overall price tag of $45-M.
I thought the meetings went well, but a number of our representatives stated they were somewhat handcuffed do to the fact we are spending $8-B a month in Iraq. Pretty amazing.
The Arsenal was another focal point for the region. We were dealt a blow with the losses from BRAC, but the silver lining is the 1st Army's proposed move to the island. With that will come 300 more uniformed personnel, many of which are officers in our military. I was told the impact of the 1st Army is similar to having a Fortune-100 company in our community. I'll be happy when this comes to fruition, but until then I do have some concerns due to the fact that our government seems to change course with its' military assignments pretty regularly.
Overall a good exercise - all of the elected officials stated that it is important to have the lobbying efforts and as "one Quad City." It was my first trip with the development group and it seemed to go well.
Let me know of any questions, thanks.
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