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Cities ask Legislature for more state money for city-owned streets, bridges and transit

A coalition of cities, including St. Paul and Minneapolis, want the state to pick up more of the funding for city streets.

A coalition of cities, including St. Paul and Minneapolis, wants changes in the way the Legislature allocates state money for city-owned roads, bridges and transit.

The cities say there are more than 19,000 city-owned miles of roadway and 84 percent of them are not eligible for dedicated Highway User Tax Distribution dollars.

They want new, dedicated funding for city streets. The group of cities, which also includes nearly a dozen other rural and suburban cities, calls itself the 84% Coalition. They say 700 other cities with populations below 5,000 are shut out of the dedicated funds, too.

St. Paul City Council Member Chris Tolbert said in a statement:

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 Unless we start looking for new state resources to help fund our streets, the burden will continue to fall on local property taxpayers in our cities – an inequitable burden for a statewide resource.

And Minneapolis City Council Member Elizabeth Glidden said:

Our shared transportation and transit infrastructure is something that’s important to all Minnesotans, and the residents of our cities across the state know that local property taxpayers can’t shoulder all the necessary investments on their own. Funding our streets is part of the equation. We also need a strong transportation bill that creates new, sustainable funding sources for all the ways we get around today, including roads, bridges, and transit. 

The cities are supporting resolutions which, they say, call for “new, sustainable funding for roads, bridges and multimodal transit.”