Ah, yes. Winter is slowly (slowly) fading into 40-degree weather and pools of melting snow. Hopefully, now that we are in March, cranky old man winter will be put to bed for good. This means, however, that our next season will be taking his place.
Nope, not spring. Road construction.
I got my reminder the other day on Robert St in St. Paul after hitting a pot hole – it felt like a meteor crater (seriously, do they test missiles on Robert Street just after the bridge from downtown?)
But help is on the way. There are 36 lucky Minnesota cities, counties, and townships that will be getting a little help from the government to tackle their road projects: Through the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s Local Road Improvement Program, $25.3 million will be given to help fix potholes and the rest of the damage done by our ever-inclement weather.
Commissioner of MNDOT, Charlie Zelle, had this to say: “This program promotes local, regional and state economic development, and improves safety on township, city and county roads.”
The ultimate goal is to reduce crashes on rural County State Aid Highways and local roads that are of significance to the region they reside in. Projects include the building of a new bridge, roundabouts, sidewalk and pedestrian ramps, the widening and repaving of roadways. There will also be the addition of traffic signals and the replacing of culverts.
A complete list of projects can be found HERE.
The program is open to all municipalities in Minnesota, and received over 200 applications for funding. The projects included in the applications totaled more than $584 million. Selection was based on geographical distribution, safety, regional significance, local agency support, construction readiness, impact and availability of other funding sources.
Even though funding was provided to the 36 selected applicants, Minnesota still faces a transportation funding deficit. Governor Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature provided additional funding in the amount of $640 million through trunk highway bonding over the next four years, at $200 million per year. However, Minnesota’s $600 million annual funding gap will resume in 2022.