The St. Louis County Board is looking for input and direction from constituents as they assemble a five-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP) and consider a $25.4 million bond.  A public hearing will take place as part of their usual monthly meeting on September 1 to receive commentary.  The meeting is scheduled for 9:30 AM on the 2nd floor Lake Superior Conference Room in the Government Services Center in Duluth:  302 2nd Street.

The CIP is a five-year plan that identifies major capital needs for the county.  This plan gets updated each year as part of the annual budget process.  Because the amendment to the 2020-2024 CIP involves the issuance of bonds, the county board is having a public hearing to discuss the matter.

Central to the issue is the proposal to issue a $25.4 million bond to invest in future road and bridge projects.  Payments on he bond would come from revenue raised by the Transportation Sales Tax (TST).  The TST was first implemented five years ago.  Since that time, St. Louis County has twice used this method of payment as a way to accelerate investment and improve the quality of the counties more-than 3,000 miles of roads and 600 bridges.  In prior years, St. Louis County approved bonding for $40 million in 2015 and for an additional $25 million in 2016. Since April 2015 (when the TST was enacted), the county has invested around $120 million in TST related funding.

Does TST work for the county?  The proof is in the numbers.  Since the implementation, only 12% (180 miles) of the paved roads in St. Louis County remain categorized as being in "very poor" condition and only 51 bridges are considered deficient.  The sum total of the investment is that there was a 60% improvement to county infrastructure in just five years.

To get more details and to see the amended CIP, click here.

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