With no bonding money in 2022, infrastructure projects hit roadblocks

Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 10:39 PM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Two separate open houses Monday showed changes coming to the highway 52/I-90 interchange and also County Road 5 outside of Byron.

“Those are the largest traffic volume routes, and so that’s where a lot of those big changes will be,” said Mike Dougherty, a regional spokesperson for the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Though both projects aren’t expected to start this year or the next, the interchange will cost around $25 million, while County Road 5′s updates will total near $7 million.

These projects will push on without bonding money from the state, but when asked about the topic of needing bonding money, one intersection came to mind: the Highway 14/County Road 44 intersection, which has been the location of many severe accidents over the years.

“We’re hoping for bonding money on that because it’s a pretty expensive project,” said Nathan Arnold, assistant engineer for Olmsted County.

With the state legislature failing to pass a bonding bill, this project wont be getting the funding they need anytime soon.

“At this time, that construction money hasn’t been identified,” said Dougherty. “Unless there’s a special session, or another legislative maneuver, there’s not funding for construction.”

Lawmakers were also frustrated about this intersection’s lack of funding.

“We live in a state, Minnesota, where we expect things to work well,” said Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL-Rochester).

“What we really do need is those bonding dollars for a full interchange,” said Sen. Carla Nelson (R-Rochester).

But for this topic, a special session seems highly unlikely.

“If I were in control, I would say yes, we need that,” said Nelson.

“I certainly would support that, and bonding bills are always a compromise, they have to be by their nature,” said Liebling.

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