Report: Minnesota needs $7B in road, transit repair

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Minnesota's roads are in bad shape. That's no newsflash for many drivers, but a new national report reveals some interesting statistics that illustrate the problem.

Nearly one-third of Minnesota's major roads need fixing, including 12 percent considered to be in poor condition, according to a 22-page report released Thursday by TRIP, a Washington, D.C.-based transportation research group. The group is funded by sponsored in part by industries with a stake in infrastructure building, including highway and transit construction and engineering firms.

The report says 11 percent of the state's bridges are deficient or obsolete and its transit system is overburdened. The state's bus and rail transit systems need $171 million to $181 million a year for construction and operations, the study says.

The report says, "Growth in population and vehicle travel has far outstripped the current capacity of Minnesota’s transportation system. The state’s population and economy will continue to grow in the future, bringing mounting challenges for the existing network of roads and bridges."

A report an appendix lists specific projects that need attention.

The Pioneer Press notes that the study is being released a few months after a state report said Minnesota needs at least $50 billion in taxes and fees over the next 20 years for roads, bridges and transit, the Pioneer Press noted.

The newspaper reports that the new report goes a step beyond the state study by highlighting specific projects that would ease traffic congestion, repair deteriorating pavement and bridges and expand transit insufficient transit routes.

Some key lawmakers are planning to push for more transportation funding at the Legislature this session.

Sen. Scott Dibble, the new chairman of the Senate Finance Transportation and Public Safety Committee, told MPR recently that he is looking for new ways to find the money to pay the massive bill for upgrading transportation and transit.

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