Some top Minnesota Democrats are ditching a call for a wholesale gasoline tax in an effort to force action on transportation funding this year. Ambitious plans to increase funds for the state’s ailing network of roads and bridges were stymied this legislative session by disagreement over how to pay for it.
A wooden railroad bridge near Minnesota’s northern border has burned and collapsed, shutting a busy train route that connects the Pacific Coast with Chicago. The bridge in Koochiching County belongs to Canadian National Railway. It carried more than 20 trains over the Rat Root River daily until it collapsed early Wednesday.
In making his case for higher state transportation taxes, Gov. Mark Dayton regularly points to a slowing flow of money from Washington for highway construction as a reason Minnesota taxpayers are stuck with a bigger burden. “It’s not going to come from the federal government. It’s not going to come from the sky,” Dayton bluntly told a delegation from Bemidji during its annual Capitol lobbying day. “So it’s going to have to come from our pockets.”
A wide gulf between how Republicans, Democrats and business groups want to tackle the state’s multibillion-dollar backlog of road and bridge repairs all but guarantees that what’s been billed as the biggest fight of the 2015 legislative session will live up to the hype. House Republicans unveiled a proposal Thursday that would tap a projected budget surplus and shave spending at the Department of Transportation to fund $750 million in repairs over the next four years.
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Another $5 million in federal assistance is bound for Minnesota to help repair roads and bridges damaged by severe flooding in June. Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration said Thursday that the emergency repair money is on top of $5 million previously released by the Federal Highway Administration.
Vehicle owners in Minnesota’s two largest counties will soon pay more to register their cars and trucks. On Tuesday, commissioners in both Hennepin and Ramsey counties approved an inaugural $10 wheelage tax per vehicle.
After the 35W Bridge collapsed, MnDOT increased bridge inspectors by 50 percent, introduced new inspection technology, required an independent review of new, complicated bridges and limited the weight on a bridge during construction. In 2008, the state legislature decided to spend $2.5 billion over 10 years on state bridges. Big projects include the Lafayette Bridge (Highway 52) in St. Paul, the Hastings Bridge and Highway 43 in Winona.
The head of a transportation finance committee in the Minnesota Legislature doesn’t expect to see a major infusion of money for roads, bridges and mass transit to come together this year.
The Stillwater Lift Bridge will reopen to traffic by 5 p.m. Friday, Dec 7, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT).
It’s now easier to get around in a couple of Minneapolis neighborhoods. The new Lyndale Avenue bridge is open to traffic.
After being closed for a year-and-a-half, the Plymouth Avenue Bridge will undergo repairs starting in July, with an expected reopening in mid-October.
Dozens of bridges in the Twin Cities area need significant repairs, a transportation advocacy group said Wednesday.
A Minnesota transportation official says half of the bridges rated deficient following the collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge will be repaired or replaced by the end of this construction season.
It didn’t take long after the Interstate 35W bridge collapsed into the Mississippi River for the tragedy and the heroism to transform into calls for action.
History, architecture and nature help create our beautiful city and one way to experience it all is via one of the many walking tours offered. Here are some of the best.
Roads and bridges are closing in the Twin Cities preparation for flooding.
Nearly three years after the Minneapolis bridge collapse, a new report finds 12 percent of the state’s bridges are “structurally deficient” or substandard.