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Keeping DMDC2019 Priorities Top of Mind

DMDC 2019

May 21, 2019

From May 8 – 10, more than 170 Greater Des Moines (DSM) business and community leaders descended onto Washington, DC, to advocate on regional priorities. Being involved in the political and legislative process is one of the most important things a business leader can do, and the DMDC trip afforded countless opportunities to participants to interact with members of Congress, administration officials and federal granting agencies.

New in 2019, The Greater Des Moines Partnership pursued a more deliberate and focused advocacy strategy. For the first time ever, The Partnership’s policy teams were officially organized and unleashed throughout Capitol Hill and other agencies to advocate for our top regional priorities. The focus of the policy teams in 2019 included the terminal project at the Des Moines International Airport, the Central Iowa Water Trails project and increased investment in affordable housing programs at the federal level. One will notice that these federal priorities overlap completely with The Partnership’s overall organizational priorities.

2019 Federal Priorities:

Des Moines Airport Terminal Project

As the region’s population is expected to rise to more than one million people within a generation, DSM’s current airport terminal is rapidly becoming overcrowded and obsolete while also becoming a liability with respect to the state’s economic development efforts. Increasing the cap on the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) is critical to the Des Moines International Airport’s ability to create a new terminal. The PFC has not increased since 2000 and provides for the most economical and free-market approach in securing sustainable dollars to address long-term infrastructure needs.

Central Iowa Water Trails Project

Building a regionally connected system of natural resource areas and corridors is an economic and workforce development opportunity. In the spring of 2018, business and community leaders from DSM unveiled an ambitious water trails plan to bring recreation to Downtown DSM’s rivers and create a network of 80 water trails across the region. With private dollars from individuals and businesses already committed, The Partnership supports allocating adequate and permanent funding sources to meet the infrastructure needs of the project. Find out more about Downtown DSM development.


The Partnership recognizes and respects the essential federal role in housing and community development and encourages elected officials to protect and adequately fund essential programs that make housing affordable for all DSM households. Specifically, The Partnership supports increased funding for the Community Development Block Grant Program, the HOME Investment Partnership Program and the Housing Choice Vouchers Program. Find out more about DSM housing.

Arts and Cultural Grants

Public investment in arts, culture and heritage provides tremendous value and has been a catalyst for the creative sector while also generating unparalleled corporate and individual support. This continued investment and meaningful partnership will further position Iowa as a state where innovation and creativity drive quality of life and economic development. Find out more about art in DSM.

Transportation and Infrastructure

The transportation system is vital to DSM’s economy. The Partnership advocates for a comprehensive approach to solving the nation’s transportation infrastructure challenges. Specifically, The Partnership believes that a multi-modal and intermodal vision must prioritize maintenance of existing facilities, manage capacity, expand alternative modes, reduce congestion and improve the efficient, safe and sustainable movement of goods and people throughout the country and world. Find out more about DSM transportation.

While the DMDC2019 fly-in trip has concluded, our work is just beginning. Business and community leaders must continue to push the envelope and share personal stories relating to our policy proposals in order to maximize our momentum throughout the summer and fall. Over the course of the next few months, The Partnership’s government relations team will be following up with our federal delegation and relevant agencies to keep the region’s priorities top of mind. To get involved in the process please visit The Partnership’s public policy page and sign up for our newsletters.

The Partnership's Public Policy team engages with local, state and federal officials to create public policy that generates economic growth, business prosperity and talent development in Greater Des Moines (DSM). The Partnership is a nonpartisan organization.

Stacey Pellett

Stacey Pellett is the GPC chair for the Greater Des Moines Partnership.