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Minneapolis Passes $33M Package For Parks, Street Infrastructure

Meanwhile, state officials are also debating how much to spend on transportation repairs and construction.

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges signed a $33 million funding package on Friday to improve the infrastructure of streets and neighborhood parks.
 
The package was approved 13-0 by the Minneapolis City Council and will provide $33 million in funding each year for up to 20 years. Agreement on the cash infusion follows shortly after the city’s Public Works Department report that said an estimated $30 million a year gap was needed to fill potholes and repair beaten streets.
 
The repairs will be paid for by increases in the property tax levy, cash and bonding. In a release, the city said approximately $21.2 million annually would be spent on streets, $800,000 on maintenance, $8 million in annual capital funds for neighborhood parks, and a one-time $3-million increase to their operating levy.
 
“This agreement addresses the critical infrastructure and operating gaps for both our streets and our neighborhood parks system,” Hodges said in a statement. “We will meet our duty to the generations before us who built Minneapolis, and our duty to the generations to come by ensuring they inherit a 21st century city.”
 
Gov. Mark Dayton, Lt. Gov. Tina Smith and state lawmakers are currently mulling over a transportation bill in the ongoing legislative session. In a letter sent Friday to Minnesota House and Senate leaders, Dayton proposed an additional $880 million to address state budget shortfalls for highways, roads, bridges, and transit.
 
Specifically, Dayton is proposing:
  • $400 million per year to maintain the state’s highways, roads, and bridges
  • $200 million per year to make “critical improvements and expansions” to state highways, interstates, and bridges
  • $280 million per year for public transit
“The Lieutenant Governor and I emphasize again that these additional expenditures to maintain, improve, and expand Minnesota’s transportation systems are absolutely essential in continuing our state’s economic growth and social vitality,” Dayton said in a statement. “A lesser commitment would seriously jeopardize that growth and vitality.”
 
Dayton hopes to fund the transportation bill through a combination of sales and local tax increases, which differs by county.
 
While the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party controls the Senate and governor’s chair, the House is leaning Republican. Members of the GOP are currently working on their own plan, which according to reports is looking to avoid metro-area tax increases for transit system expansions. Whatever the outcome, both parties will have to find that middle ground eventually.
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