The Penn Central of Richfield neighborhood organization was visited by Hennepin County Director and County Engineer Jim Grube Thursday morning to address repairs the county intends to make to the city's county-owned roads.
While there are , Grube said one the county has designated for repair is 66th Street, which is scheduled to take place in the 2015-16 time frame.
Richfield City asked if the project could be pushed up and said, "I'm not sure 66th [Street] is going to survive three more years."
Grube said there's a fine line the county walks once a road project is entered as a Capital Improvement Project (CIP), which takes its funding from different sources than a typical county road project. He went on to say that it's matter of getting the funding, having the engineering capacity to do the design and meeting with those who use the road to further the design. CIP projects are funded by the county's general operating budget, which consists of property taxes, state and federal dollars, as well as other fees
Meanwhile, the remainder of Richfield's county roads—such as Penn, Nicollet and Portland Avenues—will have to wait.
"The other ones we'll have to see because there's a heavy competition for the dollar between the 45 cities and I don't have enough to go around," Grube said. "I cannot say with certainty when the other ones are coming up. I've got roads that are just as bad up in Brooklyn Center, in St. Louis Park, all around the county . . . These roads were built maybe 40 to 50 years ago and there time is up, they should be there but there are so many other miles of roads that it just doesn't automatically go to Richfield."
He said it costs the county approximately $1.5-2 million to replace one lane mile and the county should be replacing about 40 lane miles a year. Unfortunately, he said the county simply doesn't have the funds to meet those costs. Currently, the county is able to replace about 10-15 lane miles with the current budget, which is all its roughly $30 million budget can handle for all for road repair, replacement and new construction.
Grube said the county road infrastructure needs has always been greater than the amount of money they county has had and funding continues to be a challenge.
The money for roads comes from state gas tax, the tax on license plate registrations and the sales tax on vehicle sales, which totals to its $30 million budget.
He also said that as the population in Hennepin County continues to grow, its infrastructure grows as does the number of roads its responsible for maintaining. Cities like Plymouth and Maple Grove will build roads and then turn them over to the county to maintain.
While many county road repairs in Richfield aren't even on the schedule yet, the county will continue to repair dips and bumps.
Penn Central of Richfield's next meeting is July 21.