A House legislative committee traveled to Blaine this week as local lawmakers and public officials made the case to direct more transportation funding to high-traffic roads in the north metro.
The House Transportation Finance and Policy Division listened to testimony on eight different bills that aim to pay for road safety improvements in the region. The proposals focus on the north metro’s trunk highway system, which is operating at a high capacity.
Highway 10 sees 92,000 trips a day in the north metro. Rep. John Heinrich, R-Ramsey, introduced a bill to fund more than $17 million for construction of a third lane on the highway between Hanson and Round Lake Boulevards.
Also on the docket, Rep. Erin Koegel, DFL-Spring Lake Park, and Rep. Connie Bernardy, DFL-New Brighton, introduced bills to address safety concerns along University Avenue/Highway 47. Pedestrian injuries and deaths are a critical concern, as MN-DOT reported nine pedestrian deaths on Highway 47 during a span of just 18 months. Trunk High 610 also garnered attention at the meeting. Rep. Koegel introduced a bill to complete an interchange at East River Road.
The field hearing was simply a chance for the committee to learn more about the bills. Some will be passed on for possible inclusion in the transportation safety omnibus bill, others will be considered as part of the State's bonding bill.
Jennifer Anderson reporting