Sen. Chuck Wiger (DFL-Maplewood) is applauding the inclusion of the Hugo Short Line Railway in the bonding bill Republicans introduced this week. This $1.1 million project will help keep around more than 500 jobs in the region by fixing a railway that is nearing closure if it doesn’t get appropriate funds. Without repair, at least 10 area employers who use the line including Polar Plastics in Oakdale, would get cut off from rail service.
For anyone who’s familiar with traveling on Hanson Boulevard in Coon Rapids – you know that delays due to trains are a common occurrence. These delays have grown more frequent over the years leading to this segment being designed the ‘busiest rail line in the state.
As the start of the Legislative Session is quickly approaching I am excited to have the opportunity to advocate for $5 million in bonding funds to complete an elevated walkway at Cedar and 147th transit station in Apple Valley. The pedestrian sky bridge walkway will connect the two transit stations over a busy intersection on Cedar Avenue and County Road 42. The new walkway, once completed, is expected to spur significant economic development along the Cedar Avenue/ Highway 77 transit corridor – which has already been designed as a “Jobs and Activity Center.”
When Governor Dayton unveiled his $1.4 billion bonding proposal last week, he wisely focused on jobs and investing in Minnesota’s infrastructure – both maintaining what we have, as well as investing strategically in projects to strengthen our state in the future. This plan will create close to 40,000 jobs in the short term, and it will lead to strong economic development and jobs in the future.
Let’s talk about fairness, access to opportunity, and justice: Why creating a transit system that works for its people is vitally important
Today, I had the pleasure of joining the Senate Bonding Committee Tour which made more than a dozen stops in Minneapolis. One of our mid-morning stops highlighted a gravely unsafe area alongside Interstate 35W and Lake Street. To get to this bus stop, commuters must climb a steep set of decaying stairs to get to a woefully ugly and barely sheltered bus stop that sits right next to the freeway, with cars and buses racing past at high speeds. It is noisy, polluted, receives water and salt spray, is hard to access, and is a generally unpleasant, hostile experience. This area is the heart of three of this region’s most heavily traveled transit and transportation corridors: Lake Street, I-35W (and the Orange Line Bus Rapid Transit), and the 29th Street Midtown Greenway “bicycle highway.”
It was my pleasure to welcome my colleagues on the Senate Capital Investment Committee to Bloomington today, to tour proposed bonding projects. There are several projects in my district seeking state support, and learning about them firsthand helps legislators understand the importance of completing them.
This morning, our first stop of the day took us down a narrow road to a bridge that crosses the Red River and connects Minnesota and North Dakota. It was a beautiful morning, but the Mayor of Nielsville, who greeted us at the bridge, had some grim news. The bridge had a several foot-wide hole in the middle of it.
Last year, Moorhead averaged 85 trains passing through the city each day, about 5-7 of those trains each day were carrying oil from North Dakota. By 2040, the number of trains passing through the city is projected to grow to 150 per day. Each day train crossings block city streets between 4 and 8 hours per day.