ST. PAUL, Minn. - A new report released by a Washington D.C. watchdog group says Minnesota's roadways, bridges and transit systems need upgrading or fixing to the tune of several billions of dollars.
TRIP released its report Thursday at the State Capitol saying that athird of Minnesota's major roadways needed repair. It also said some highways needed expansion because of horrible bottlenecks.
Traffic at a crawl is not a secret for Twin Cities drivers, but the price tag to fix it and other infrastructure needs may be. TRIP claims it will cost $7.1 to $9.4 billion dollars. Money the state does not have.
"The funding to make these improvements is not there, so what that means is these projects are going to be stranded on the drawing board," said Carolyn Kelly, spokesperson for TRIP.
The group gave a long list of congested roadways including 35-W at 694 and 394 at Highway 100.
TRIP said there are many fixes needed.
"Building additional capacity, roadway reconstruction, as well as managed lanes and intelligent transportation systems," said Kelly.
DFL State Senator Scott Dibble, of Minneapolis, chairs the Senate Transportation Committee.
"The transportation we have is aging, it's crumbling, it's not safe," Dibble said.
But with a transportation budget shortfall, Dibble believes in raising the gas tax. Dibble also mentioned a sales tax on transit during a Thursday news conference.
Dibble's GOP counterpart on the transportation committee is not in favor of that. State Senator John Pederson favors lowering construction costs by reducing wages for workers or making it easier to build near wetlands.
"The issue is always funding. The press conference we saw this morning really didn't offer any solutions in regard to that," said Pederson.
Both sides seem to agree that something needs to be done. But how to do it is another question.
"One thing that has broad and popular support is the need to do better," said Dibble.