Transportation bill to make improvement, but falls short of needby Dan Olson, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The nearly $500 million bonding bill signed into law Wednesday will borrow $10 million for local road maintenance and safety improvements.
The bill also designates nearly $56 million dollars toward the state's transportation infrastructure, which includes $33 million for local bridge repair and replacement. Twin Cities transitways will receive $20 million for projects that include the 35W south Bus Rapid Transit line, or BRT, and the Cedar Avenue BRT line.
Minnesota Transportation Alliance executive director Margaret Donahoe said the money is welcome, but falls short of the need.
"For local roads the $10 million is a good start but we have probably a $100 million worth of projects on local roads between safety projects, repair and replacement projects, matching funds for trunk highway projects that could be used right away," Donahoe said.
The bill also includes money to help fund construction of a Northstar commuter rail line station in Ramsey, and additional development of a Minneapolis Interchange facility near Target Field.
Metropolitan Council chairwoman Sue Haigh said including those and other projects in the bonding bill helps bolster the region's search for federal dollars.
"When other regions in the country can fund both their capital and their operating, they're going to advance and accelerate their projects in this competitive grant application process." Haigh said. "So for us to be able to keep these projects going and move forward is really exciting."