Dayton sets transportation funding deadline for end of March

Governor Dayton set an important deadline at the end of the month to jumpstart some road projects for the spring.

Part of the urgency is the projects are paid for with federal money that could go away if the legislature doesn't approve it.

About $105 million of federal money provided to the state last year didn't get spent because the legislature couldn't pass a transportation bill.

MnDOT has already selected 28 road and bridge projects around the state.

The governor has sent a letter to the transportation chairs warning these projects will be delayed if these funds are not authorized by March 31.

"If this approval is not made by the end of this month, by the end of March some of these projects will miss the current construction season and they'll be delayed for a year, so it would be just senseless," said Dayton.

There are five metro projects on the list:

Bloomington - replacing the 86th Street Bridge over 35W

Farmington - road repair work on State Highway 50

Scott County - repairing Highway 13 from Savage to Shakopee.

Dakota County - work on Highway 52 through Coates and Hampton

Forest Lake - grade work on Highway 97

"The number one risk is that we are ready to go with contractors on defined projects right away,” said Charlie Zellie, MnDOT Commissioner. “But as we get into summer there is the risk of losing some of the federal funds that would be in the August rebalancing, if we don't spend the money, this money would go to other states that have project ready to go." 

The Legislature has these funds included in their new transportation packages, but the governor wants a standalone bill to get them passed now and start construction right away.