Counties pushing for road funding

Published 10:48 am Monday, February 10, 2014

Mower County is one of more than 70 counties to pass resolutions supporting a comprehensive transportation funding package in 2014.

Move MN, a statewide coalition of more than 140 organizations advocating to make transportation funding a priority this legislative session, is urging counties to send a clear message to Gov. Mark Dayton and legislative leaders that this issue must be addressed this year.

“We’re always interested in increased transportation funding,” Mower County Coordinator Craig Oscarson said. “We’ve always maintained that money we get from the state, there’s a gap in how our roads are maintained.”

In 2008, the state received an increase in transportation funding that helped fuel economic recovery. Today, funds are nearly exhausted, according to Move MN. Minnesota will not have enough funding to maintain the current transportation system, or fund critical improvements or expansions, for the next 20 years.

“Without immediate action on transportation, Minnesota will lose its best talent, our businesses will experience higher costs, and we will fall further behind,” Ramsey County Commissioner and President of the Association of Minnesota Counties Toni Carter said in a press release. “Just counting the boarded up storefronts on main streets across the state quickly shows the need we have, not simply to support specific modes of travel — but to ensure that Minnesota is a leader in job growth and economic development for years to come.”

By 2030, Minnesota is expected to add more than 350,000 new jobs and by 2040, the population is expected to grow by nearly 1 million people, according to Move MN. As demand continues to increase, the shortcomings of our transportation system will only be exacerbated.

We need a transportation system that creates access to opportunities, and that safely and efficiently moves people, goods and services. We need sustainable funding to create that progressive system.

“Simply put, transportation is about opportunity and access – connecting families to schools and health care, connecting consumers to businesses, and connecting our region’s farms to the global marketplace,” Redwood County Commissioner John Schueller said in a press release. “Lack of investment in our local infrastructure stifles economic growth in Redwood Falls and lessens our ability to meaningfully contribute to Minnesota’s economy. It is crucial the state provide us with the lifeline we need to succeed.”

Counties passing resolutions:

Aitkin, Becker, Beltrami, Benton, Big Stone, Blue Earth, Brown, Carleton, Carver, Cass, Chippewa, Chisago, Clay, Clearwater, Cook, Cottonwood, Crow Wing, Dakota, Dodge, Douglas, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, Hubbard, Isanti, Itasca, Kandiyohi, Kittson, Koochiching, Lac qui Parle, Lake, Lake of the Woods, Le Sueur, Lincoln, Lyon, Mahnomen, Marshall, Martin, McLeod, Mille Lacs, Mower, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Olmsted, Otter Tail, Pennington, Pine, Polk, Pope, Ramsey, Red Lake, Redwood, Renville, Rice, Rock, Roseau, Sibley, St. Louis, Stearns, Steele, Stevens, Swift, Todd, Traverse, Waseca, Watonwan, Wilkin, Winona, Wright and Yellow Medicine.