Dubuque Awarded $25 million Federal RAISE Infrastructure Grant to Build Railroad Overpass at 14th Street

The City of Dubuque has been awarded a $25 million Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) Infrastructure Implementation Grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation for a major, multi-phase infrastructure project in downtown Dubuque.

RAISE funds are provided through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides $1.5 billion annually in fiscal years 2022–2026 for capital investments in surface transportation that will have a significant local or regional impact.

Dubuque’s $25 million RAISE implementation grant will go towards construction of the Building Bridges to Employment and Equity (B2E2) project, a multimodal transportation project focused on connectivity and safety for all users in designated transportation corridors. The goal is to better connect neighborhoods and residents with economic opportunities, recreational amenities, and community resources in the Kerper Boulevard Industrial Park, on Chaplain Schmitt Island, Downtown Dubuque, the Historic Millwork District, and on the west side of the city via the downtown Intermodal Transportation Center.

Today’s grant announcement comes 13 months after U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg toured the B2E2 project site with Dubuque Mayor Brad Cavanagh and other local officials. The visit was part of Buttigieg’s tour through Wisconsin and Iowa promoting projects tied to the major federal infrastructure investment.

“Investment in infrastructure is a bipartisan issue and we’re grateful to the Biden Administration, Secretary Buttigieg, Senator Grassley, Senator Ernst, and Representative Hinson for their support of Dubuque’s application for this grant,” said Cavanagh. “This grant is returning $25 million in taxes back to our community to improve connectivity for all in this part of Dubuque.”

“The health and wellbeing of our communities rely on sound transportation options.  This federal grant will bolster public safety and make Dubuque a better place to live,”  Grassley said.  “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law continues to support investment in Iowa’s future. I’m glad to see Iowans’ hard-earned tax dollars return to our state.”

In 2022, the City received a $2.3 million RAISE Planning Grant to assist with the $4.4 million planning and design costs of the B2E2 project. The Dubuque Racing Association (DRA) provided a $750,000 contribution as a local cash match to make the planning grant a possibility. The City is currently working with a team of consultants to plan and design safety, capacity, and mobility improvements including:

  • A vehicular/pedestrian overpass bridge at the 14th St. railroad at-grade crossing
  • Roundabout at the 16th St. and Sycamore St. intersection
  • Roundabout at the 16th St. / Greyhound Park Rd. / Admiral Sheehy Dr. intersection
  • Elm St. corridor complete streets improvements including painted bike lanes from 11th St. to 22nd St.
  • 16th St. complete streets improvements including painted bike lanes from Elm St. to Sycamore St, installing sidewalks along segments without existing sidewalks, and enhanced crosswalks at the 16th St. and Kerper Blvd. intersection
  • Bridge sidewalk modifications to the Peosta Channel Bridge, including a pedestrian and bike shared-use path

The 14th St. overpass represents the largest component of the project. Due to the merger of the Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern railroads, train traffic in Dubuque is expected to increase from approximately nine trains per day currently to 18 trains per day by 2027. This surge in train activity will lead to significant delays and hinder the efficient movement of people and goods and significantly impact emergency response and key employment centers. The proposed 14th St. overpass will help avoid train crossing delays and potential negative impacts to safety and mobility in the downtown area.

The total construction cost for the B2E2 project is estimated to be $38.7 million. In addition to the $25 million RAISE grant, Dubuque Metropolitan Area Transportations Study (DMATS) will contribute $9.2 million, the City will contribute $3.6 million, and the Canadian Pacific Kansas City railroad will contribute $1 million. With the $4.4 million dollars in planning and engineering costs, the total expenditure for the project will exceed $43 million. Construction will be completed in phases from 2027 to 2030.

Completion of this project is expected to spur development on Chaplain Schmitt Island (already experiencing over $100 million in investment), Kerper Boulevard, 16th Street, and the Central Avenue and White Street corridors.

Over the next year, public information meetings and stakeholder meetings will be held to provide property owners and residents the opportunity to receive information about the B2E2 project and allow the public an opportunity to provide input and express their opinions regarding the project. For additional information on the project, visit https://www.cityofdubuque.org/b2e2

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