Otter Tail County joins efforts for more road and bridge maintenance
The county board of commissioners, seeing the need for more road and bridge maintenance funding, passed a resolution on March 26 encouraging the state legislature to pass and the governor to sign a bill that would bring adequate funding to Minnes...
The county board of commissioners, seeing the need for more road and bridge maintenance funding, passed a resolution on March 26 encouraging the state legislature to pass and the governor to sign a bill that would bring adequate funding to Minnesota's statewide transportation system.
Otter Tail County is joining Minnesota's other 86 counties in pointing out a funding gap for the state's counties that has resulted in deferring basic road and bridge maintenance, delaying expansion projects and facing safety concerns.
"A comprehensive and sustainable transportation system should include robust funding for roads and bridges and address the varying needs in different parts of the state," said County Board Chairman Doug Huebsch of Perham.
Joining Huebsch in passing the resolution unanimously were County Commissioners Wayne Johnson of Pelican Rapids, Betty Murphy of Maine Township, John Lindquist of Dalton and Lee Rogness of Fergus Falls.
Minnesota's 87 counties maintain 30,742 miles of county state aid highways and 14,141 miles of county roads.
The total annual need for road and bridge maintenance, as researched by county engineers all across the state, is $1.08 billion.
"This annual amount is what will be needed, each year, over the next 25 years, just to maintain our current roads and bridges," says Chuck Grotte, Otter Tail County engineer who also heads the county highway department.
County residents, as part of the annual county-wide property tax levy, pay close to $3.5 million annually for road and bridge maintenance. About $14 million currently comes annually from the state of Minnesota and just under $1 million is provided to Otter Tail County from the federal government.
In addition, the county has a half-cent sales tax that yields about $3.8 million annually for roads and bridges. A fee of $20 per license tax renewal brings in $1.2 million on a yearly basis.
Otter Tail County is larger in size than the state of Rhode Island and paved roads total 1,062 miles.