Pothole Fix Funding on Fast Track

The House and Senate are proposing $15 million to assist counties and state aid cities with pothole repair; the Senate also provides funds for non-state aid cities and townships.
(Published Mar 31, 2014)

Anyone who has driven or ridden in an automobile lately knows Minnesota streets and highways are riddled with potholes. Acknowledging the severity of the pothole problem, legislators and Gov. Dayton want to provide some assistance to road authorities facing miles of expensive patch work. According to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), the cost to repair one pothole is approximately $1,300.

The House supplemental transportation appropriation bill, HF 3260 (Rep. Frank Hornstein, DFL-Minneapolis), provides $15 million to local governments and $10 million in state highway funds for post-winter road repairs. The funds will be distributed through the constitutional formula.

Under the formula, of the $15 million provided to local governments, $11.448 million will be distributed among all 87 counties, and $3.552 million will go to state aid cities—those over 5,000 in population. HF 3260 was amended into HF 3172 (Rep. Lyndon Carlson Sr., DFL-Crystal), the omnibus supplemental budget bill.

The Senate supplemental transportation appropriation bill, SF 2858 (Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis), provides a comparable amount to counties and state aid cities. In addition, the Senate package provides $1.2 million for non-state aid cities and $1.2 million for townships. SF 2858 was heard on March 28 and will be debated, possibly amended, and passed by the Senate Transportation and Public Safety Committee as soon as March 31.

While state leaders have been quick to blame the harsh winter for the declining road surface conditions, the League has repeatedly reminded legislators that properly maintained roads are quite resistant to potholes. The apparent acceleration of deterioration is largely the result of deferred maintenance caused by a lack of adequate funding.

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