A report out last week by the Blue Green Alliance says that more than half of the state's roads are in poor or mediocre condition and need increased investment to be safe, efficient and productive for Minnesotans.
The report called "Repair Minnesota: Creating Good Jobs While Preparing Our Systems for Climate Change" also found that 9 percent of Minnesota's bridges are considered "functionally obsolete" and that driving on roads in need of repair collectively costs Minnesota vehicle owners $797 million a year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs, or $250 per motorist.
The report says investing $1.5 billion per year for the next 20 years roads and bridges would bring them out of disrepair and would employ 41,700 people annually.
The report also said investing $310 million to $475 million on transit over the next 20 years would create 6,200 to 9,500 job while 1 billion dollars on transit would produce or sustain 37,910 jobs. Those would include everything from construction laborers, equipment operators, maintenance workers, suppliers and the need for financial and housing services.
“When we build great infrastructure and repair decrepit public facilities, we set the state for a strong economy. We need to make smart investments to ensure our prosperity,” said State Senator Scott Dibble (DFL – Minneapolis), Chair of the Senate Transportation and Public Safety Committee. “Minnesotans need more access to jobs and other opportunities via transit, safe and efficient roadways, safe bikeways, and walkable neighborhoods. We all benefit if we succeed at slowing climate change and creating jobs that support families in every part of our state.”
The report came out last week as Minnesota Department of Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle and Metropolitan Council Chair Sue Haigh wrap up a series of town hall meetings to make their case for transportation and transit funding. The last of them is from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday at Burnsville High School Theatre, Mraz Center for the Performing Arts, 600 E. Hwy. 13.
BlueGreen Alliance describes themselves as a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs in the clean economy.