77th Street Underpass: A Link to Economic Success

With just over four weeks left to go in the 2014 session, there are few issues left on our legislative agenda. While we have accomplished much – tax relief, a 5% care provider rate increase, and smart reforms to streamline our state government – one major piece left for us to address is capital investment.

Capital investment – often called bonding – is an opportunity for us to support our state’s priorities by investing in projects that create jobs, kick start regional economic centers, and modernize our infrastructure. By selling general obligation bonds and taking advantage of historically low interest rates, we can make strategic investments that will create jobs now and long term success. I am carrying a bonding proposal this year that would create jobs, expand economic opportunity and modernize our infrastructure – a great investment for Minnesota!

The proposed 77th Street Underpass connecting Richfield and Bloomington will provide an essential link between the two cities in a high traffic area that is currently blocked by the intersection of Interstate 494 and Highway 77. This project will provide connections between Richfield, Bloomington, the Minneapolis – St. Paul International Airport, the Metro Transit South Garage, and the Mall of America.

It’s easy to see why this project makes sense. Currently, the Underpass is the missing link between all of these locations. By building the Underpass we can facilitate economic development and strengthen our regional transportation network. The Underpass is also the final phase needed to complete the overall 77th Street reconstruction project that began in the 1990s.

This project is good for Minnesota for a number of reasons. It will promote redevelopment along the southeastern borders of Richfield, providing a commercial ‘buffer’ to protect neighborhoods from airport and highway impacts. It will connect the two sides of Highway 77 that had been previously disconnected by the highway, easing the process of crossing the highway for pedestrians, bikers, and those not on the Interstate.

With support from the Mall of America, the Cities of Richfield and Bloomington, and the Richfield Chamber of Commerce, this project is a prime example of how capital investment can create jobs, economic success and help our communities succeed.

Senator Melissa Wiklund
Melissa Wiklund represents District 50, which includes portions of Bloomington and Richfield in the southern Twin Cities metropolitan area.

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