MN Transportation Bill Frustrates Stearns County Engineer
ST. CLOUD -- Ambitious plans to fund a new 10-year construction plan statewide fell flat as the state legislature included only $30,000,000 in new money for construction programs over the next two years.
Lawmakers opposed a gas tax to pay for Governor Mark Dayton's $10,500,000,000 plan and surplus money was shifted elsewhere. It has county officials like Stearns County Engineer Jodi Teich frustrated.
Teich says there was no new money put into the bridge bonding account. She says Stearns County has two bridges currently on the waiting list for funding with a few more programmed behind those. The bridges serve the agriculture and freight industry in the county which feeds the local economy.
Teich says they have several other projects waiting for funding and without any new money, many of them will continue to be shelved.
Lawmakers did add another un-funded mandate to inventory all of the county's traffic signals in 2015. Teich is questioning why the state legislature added the mandate without money to pay for it. It's something she says puts even more pressure on an already tight budget.
Teich says more delays in completing these projects means they'll cost more in the long run.