|
|
Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Letter to the Editor: Thanks to Stumpf for his work that will benefit rural Minn. roads

  • As the dust settles on the 2014 Legislative Session it is important to recognize some very positive things that were accomplished for Greater Minnesota. One encouraging outcome was the result of the work Sen. LeRoy Stumpf, did this year in building recognition and funding for the Local Road Improvement Fund (LRIF).
    • email print
      Comment
  •     As the dust settles on the 2014 Legislative Session it is important to recognize some very positive things that were accomplished for Greater Minnesota. One encouraging outcome was the result of the work Sen. LeRoy Stumpf, did this year in building recognition and funding for the Local Road Improvement Fund (LRIF).   
        Everybody knows our roads are the lifeline that allows Greater Minnesota to participate in the economic engine that fuels the state and regional economy. But the technological advances that are allowing greater yields out of the fields and forests, are bottlenecked by load limits on key farm and forest-to-market roads. Those aging roads were built to a sleepy, decades-old standard that puts an anchor on our ability to compete effectively in world markets. You might say we have an eight-track road system in a touch-screen navigation and audiophile marketplace. We're pleased Sen. Stumpf - as chairman of the Capitol Investment Committee - led the effort this year to secure funding.   
        Twelve years ago in 2002, the MN Rural Counties Caucus proposed creation of the LRIF in recognition of the fact that the highway funding formula was woefully inadequate in keeping pace with developing economic and safety demands. The idea was to build a sturdy, integrated, statewide system of 10-ton roads based on local input and coordinated by Mn/DOT State-Aid, that would facilitate heavier loads and fewer trips. Until this year – and Sen. Stumpf’s efforts – the program has been chronically underfunded.   
        In 2012, local government engineers submitted projects to the LRIF totaling $282 million. Those $282 million in local project needs competed for just $10 million in funds - which has been the typical allocation until this year.   
        In the absence of a comprehensive statewide transportation funding package that begins to adequately address the large and growing mountain of highway funding needs, Sen. Stumpf led the way this year by including $53.4 million in bonding for the LRIP.   
        The MRCC appreciates the effort to slow the degradation of our farm and forest to market roads and are grateful for the leadership demonstrated by Sen. Stumpf this year.
        
        Dahl is MRCC Chairman and a Mahnomen County Commissioner.   
        The Minnesota Rural Counties Caucus is a 29 member organization that advocates for rural county interests that includes the counties of Aitkin / Becker / Beltrami / Clay / Clearwater / Cook / Cottonwood / Douglas / Grant / Itasca / Kittson   Koochiching / Lake of the Woods / Mahnomen / Marshall / McLeod / Mille Lacs / Morrison / Norman / Polk Otter Tail / Pennington / Pope / Red Lake / Roseau / Stevens /Todd / Traverse / Wadena

        calendar