DES MOINES — The Iowa Transportation Commission formally asked the city of Clinton on Tuesday to return about $722,000 after the city failed to meet conditions of an $8 million grant.

It’s the largest repayment in the 22-year history of the Department of Transportation’s grant program.

“Our default policy recognizes that a project can be successful, yet just not meet all expectations. This is a great example,” said Stuart Anderson, director of the DOT’s Office of Systems Planning.

The commission took the action at its meeting in Ames, asking the city to pay back the money over nine years.

The grant, approved in 1996, was a major component of the Mill Creek Parkway development.

The grant was contingent on the creation of 714 jobs within two years of the project’s completion. Anderson said 381 jobs were created since the road was opened in November 2001.

He said the amount the city must repay was based on the amount of the percentage of the job-creation shortfall.

“We certainly agree, and I’m sure the city of Clinton agrees, that the Mill Creek Parkway is very important transportation infrastructure for current and future economic development,” Anderson said. “That’s why they’re only paying back what amounts to 9 percent of the money they received.”

Late last month, Clinton City Administrator Gary Boden said the project, even with the anticipated refund, has been worth it for the city.

Although the refund is the largest ever, it’s far from the only DOT grant project that failed to meet its goals. Anderson said about 50 projects have defaulted since the program began. Most of the refunds are much smaller than Clinton’s because the grants are much smaller.

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