Mayor Rybak Proposes $27.5 Million Infrastructure Acceleration Program to Improve Minneapolis Streets
August 14, 2008 (MINNEAPOLIS) -- Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak today announced his proposal for a sweeping $27.5 million transportation infrastructure package that would repave or repair more than one third of all the heavily-traveled streets and parkways maintained by the City of Minneapolis. Released today as part of Mayor Rybak’s 2009 Budget for the City of Minneapolis, the accelerated funding package would also replace or repair more than 4,700 traffic light and street light poles and improve city bike paths.
"Many of us have been critical – and rightly so – of the lack of investment in transportation infrastructure by the state and federal government," Mayor Rybak said. "But it is important to hold ourselves accountable to the same high standards, and I have to say that we are failing in our duty to pass on to the next generation the strong infrastructure we have inherited."
"Too many of our streets, bike trails and light poles are in disrepair and we cannot wait any longer to fix them," Mayor Rybak said. "We have to act, and we have to act now, otherwise the problems will get even worse – and more expensive to solve. We have done so much to address long term debt and get our financial house in order, and now we need to demonstrate that unmet infrastructure needs are also a debt that cannot be passed on to our kids."
"The Infrastructure Acceleration Program I am proposing goes far beyond our current plan for transportation infrastructure because we need to speed up action on the unacceptable backlog of unmet needs in Minneapolis," Rybak added.
Mayor Rybak’s Infrastructure Acceleration Program, which would supplement the City’s existing five-year $105 million infrastructure plan, has four components and would affect nearly every corner of Minneapolis:
• Street and Parkway Improvement - $19.5 million would completely resurface 43 miles of streets and parkways, and seal cracks and potholes in an additional 26 miles of streets that need repair but not repaving.
• Traffic Light and Street Light Pole Repair - $5.25 million would replace 900 traffic light and street light poles that are currently in structurally poor condition, and repair nearly 3,800 additional poles at risk for corrosion.
• Park Infrastructure - $2.5 million would help improve the infrastructure in Minneapolis parks, for projects such as the pedestrian bridge in Minnehaha Park.
• Bike Trail Maintenance and Expansion - $500,000 would fund snow removal on city bike trails, as well as repair or resurface bike trails such as the Midtown Greenway.
"Streets, bike trails, traffic and street lights: taken altogether, this $27.5 million Infrastructure Acceleration Program added to our existing capital investment plan represents the smartest, most responsible investment in our transportation infrastructure we can make at this time," Mayor Rybak said. "It will make our streets safer, our commercial corridors more accessible, and our city more navigable."
A Continued Focus on Public Safety
Mayor Rybak also proposed $210 million to maintain the significant public safety gains made in the last two years. So far this year, violent crime in Minneapolis is down 25% from where it was two years ago, and trending down in every part of the city. Some of the biggest safety gains have been on the Northside, where violent crime is down 32% compared to two years ago. Juvenile violent crime is down 46% compared to two years ago. In 2006, nearly half the violent crimes in Minneapolis were committed by young people; today that has fallen to 25%.
"Minneapolis is a safer city today than it was a year ago, which was safer than the year before that - but still not safe enough," Mayor Rybak said. "That’s why this budget maintains our core investments in public safety and adds new investments to keep us moving in the right direction."
In addition to more money for the police department, Mayor Rybak’s plan to strengthen the city’s fight against crime included more money for youth violence prevention and criminal prosecution:
• Youth Violence Prevention - $8.5 million would help expand the city’s strong commitment to reducing youth violence, which is already receiving national recognition.
• Criminal Prosecution - $280,000 would be added to the City Attorney’s office to ensure that more criminal arrests are prosecuted.
Focused on Results, Looking to the future
At numerous times during his annual budget address, Mayor Rybak stressed the need for city leaders to stay focused on creating a results-driven, accountable city government.
"We have redefined what it means to be a government accountable for results," Mayor Rybak said. "Performing under pressure we have focused our resources, measured our progress and grounded our decisions with a focus on results. We have shown that in tough times, tough minded leaders can make tough decisions that deliver results. We have also shown that if we do our job right, some of the best results we deliver won’t be seen until tomorrow," Rybak said.
Published Aug. 14, 2008