Tricounty News

Klobuchar announces more than $107 million for Minnesota Transportation Projects

Secures over $90 million for Northstar Corridor Rail and Central Corridor Rail    Washington, D.C.-U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar announced today that Minnesota will receive over  $107.6  million in federal funding for job-creating Minnesota projects as part of the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development section of the Omnibus Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2009.  Klobuchar said funding for Minnesota transportation initiatives like the Northstar Commuter Rail, Central Corridor, Hastings Bridge Replacement, and other vital transportation infrastructure projects throughout Minnesota are in included in the final legislation.    Klobuchar secured over $71 million for the Northstar Corridor commuter rail project. The 40-mile line from the Twin Cities northwest to Big Lake, will have station stops in Anoka, Coon Rapids, and Elk River. The proposed schedule will include five inbound and one outbound trip each weekday morning and five outbound and one inbound trip each weekday afternoon. The project also includes a four block extension of the Hiawatha light-rail train line to reach the downtown Minneapolis commuter rail station.     "Creating a 21st Century transportation meets real needs, creates real jobs and delivers a real boost to the economy," Klobuchar said. "The tremendous growth of communities along the I-94 corridor is one of the great success stories of the Upper Midwest, and Northstar will help to keep that growth on track.'     In addition, Klobuchar also secured $20 million for the development of an 11-mile Central Corridor light-rail commuter line connecting downtown St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis via the State Capitol, Midway, and the University of Minnesota. The project is expected to serve over 40,000 passengers each day by 2030.     "A growing metro area needs a forward-looking transportation policy-one that gives people choices, gets them out of rush-hour traffic and reduces congestion on our roads,' Klobuchar said. "The Central Corridor light-rail commuter line is the next step in reducing the metro area's congestion."    Klobuchar also was successful in securing funding for a vital congestion mitigation project for the severely congested I-35W/Highway 10 area.  Local access interchanges serving four major redevelopment projects and connections to the metro area beltway are expected to support over 14,200 new homes, 42,000 jobs and over $4.6 billion in private investment in the area.  Klobuchar secured $950,000 for the project.     Klobuchar secured an additional $950,000 million for the interchange at Highways 13 and 15 in Burnsville in order to reduce congestion and improve safety.  The project has been identified by MnDOT, Dakota and Scott Counties, and the Cities of Burnsville and Savage as needing improvements to address safety, traffic operations, and access issues.     Klobuchar also pushed to include $2,375,000 for the U.S. Highway 14 Partnership's project to provide a streamlined transportation option between New Ulm, Mankato, Waseca, Owatonna and Rochester with connections to other interregional corridors (State Highway 60, Interstate 35).  Highway 14 is generally known as one of the most dangerous stretches of highways in Minnesota.  The funding provides for safety and capacity improvement measures such as removing through-traffic within cities and doubling the number of lanes to four.    Klobuchar recently met with the Mayor of Owatonna, Tom Kuntz to discuss a number of issues, including highway funding, public power issues and the Economic Recovery Package.    "I had a good discussion with Mayor Kuntz about the important issues facing the citizens of Owatonna, including the Highway 14 Partnership project," said Klobuchar.  "Infrastructure initiatives like this are critical in creating jobs to fuel local businesses and provide safe and reliable transportation for all Minnesota families. Thousands of Minnesotans rely on Highway 14 everyday and they need to know that it is safe."    Senator Klobuchar secured $1.9 million towards the replacement of the Hastings Bridge in Hastings, Minnesota, with work scheduled to begin by 2010.  The bridge, which carries 32,000 motorists per day over the Mississippi River between Dakota and Washington Counties on Highway 61 has multiple structural problems and is sorely in need of replacement.  The Minnesota Department of Transportation is currently implementing interim repair measures until the new bridge can be built.    "Infrastructure initiatives like this are critical in creating jobs to fuel the economy and provide safe and reliable transportation for all Minnesota families," said Klobuchar. "Thousands of Minnesotans rely on this bridge everyday and they need to know that it is safe."    Additionally, the bill included funding for the following projects in the final bill:    • $950,000 for the Minnesota Valley Railroad Authority's rehabilitation of the Redwood Falls rail line. • $950,000 for the development of the Cedar Avenue Corridor Transitway Bus and Rapid Transit project including the preliminary design, environmental documentation, development of stations and park and ride facilities along the corridor and shoulder improvements for transit operations in Dakota County. • $1,520,000 to finish construction of Highway 610 from Highway 169 to I-94, completing the Highway 10/610 corridor from I-35W to I-94 in Maple Grove. • $950,000 for safety improvements to the stretch of U.S. Highway 59 between Clarksfield and Marshall.  The 21-mile project will increase safety on the highway, widening the shoulder safety zones to six feet on each side. • $3 million for buses and bus facilities in Minnesota. • $712,500 for the Transit Operations Center in Rochester. • $950,000 for terminal and fire safety improvements to the Bemidji Regional Airport. • $475,000 towards replacing the Lowry Avenue Bridge in Minneapolis. • $285,000 for construction of a new building for Open Arms of Minnesota. • $475,000 for the design and construction of a multipurpose youth and elderly facility for the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians in Ponemah.