A host of area projects are in a $284 billion highway bill that gained U.S. House approval Thursday. If the bill gains U.S. Senate approval a House-Senate conference committee will negotiate a compromise bill.
In a statement issued Thursday, Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn., said the bill provides the investment needed to improve the nation's highway and transit infrastructure.
Among the items in the massive bill is $1.5 million for a Paul Bunyan Trail bridge for bike, pedestrian and snowmobile use that would cross Excelsior Road in Baxter. An Oberstar spokeswoman said the $1.5 million federal share for the program represents 80 percent of the cost and the state would pay the remaining 20 percent.
Volunteer Trail Coordinator Terry McGaughey said Thursday the odds are good that full funding of $1.5 million will be included in the state Legislature's bonding bill. The measure is included in both the House and Senate versions of the bill. Trail supporters applied for federal dollars as a fall-back position, he said, but would prefer the full funding provided by the state.
McGaughey said the $1.5 million figure represents the full funding for the bridge and wasn't sure why the federal bill listed $1.5 million as 80 percent of the cost. Oberstar's spokeswoman said agencies were asked to list the 80 percent federal share in their applications.
* Crow Wing County Paul Bunyan Trail -- Constructing the trail from the Mississippi River bridge to Crow Wing State Park ($775,000).
* French Rapids bridge -- Corridor study, environmental impact statement and right-of-way acquisition for a future highway and bridge across the Mississippi River ($1 million).
* Wadena Highway 10 expansion -- Conduct an environmental impact statement on improving efficiency and travel times ($1.3 million).
* Aitkin County Great River Road -- Realign, grade and pave three segments of the road on CSAH 10 and CSAH 21 ($6.96 million).
* Bemidji, Paul Bunyan Trail -- Construct Paul Bunyan Trail from Walker to Bemidji. The bicycle-pedestrian project consists of paving 24 miles of abandoned railroad grade ($700,000).
* Morrison County Road 203 -- Reconstruction of the road between U.S. 10 and Highway 1 ($336,000).
* Morrison County CSAH 47 -- Rehabilitation of CSAH 47 from 165th Avenue to Highway 25 ($440,000).
* Little Falls CSAH 76 -- Roadway improvements ($1,064,000).
* Morrison County Soo Line Trail -- Construction of a trail north of Bowlus to the Mississippi River ($495,000).
* Morrison CSAH 19 -- Reconstruction of the road from CSAH 36 to CSAH 2 ($200,000).
* Cuyuna Lakes Trail --Construction of three segments: Riverton to County Road 128, Croft Mine Park to Deerwood and Croft Mine Park to Cuyuna ($1.2 million).
* Cass Lake Main Street -- To improve appearance, safety and link with Leech Lake Reservation ($1.9 million).
* Development of pedestrian and bike trails in the Cuyuna Recreation Area ($700,000).
* Aitkin, Paul Bunyan Bike Trail -- Bike trails in and around Aitkin to extend the Cuyuna Range and Great River Road Trail. The project will connect the Paul Bunyan Bike Trail to the Mesabi Bike Trail going through Crosby, Cuyuna, Aitkin to Grand Rapids ($400,000).
MIKE O'ROURKE can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5860.
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