Republican and DFL Lawmakers Support Proposal
St. Paul, Minn. – Senator Chuck Wiger (DFL-Maplewood) today introduced a new bipartisan capital investment appropriation of $8.8 million to complete the design and construction of a multi-use paved trail around White Bear Lake (Senate File 3957). State Representative Peter Fischer (DFL-Maplewood) is introducing companion legislation in the House of Representatives Monday.
Planning for the project began in 2000 with a legislative appropriation of $175,000 to create a master plan. The Lake Links Trail when completed will connect five communities within two counties and link the Greater White Bear Lake Area to the Gateway and Brown’s Creek state trails.
“Minnesota is a great place to live because we invest in things like parks and trails that provide an outstanding quality of life for everyone,” said Sen. Wiger. “This project has been in the works for a long time, it’s important to the people of Ramsey and Washington counties, and I’m very pleased it now has strong bipartisan support in the Senate. I commend area residents for their hard work to get us across the finish line on completing this trail, which was envisioned nearly 20 years ago.”
Republican Senator Dave Senjem of Rochester, who chairs the Senate Capital Investment Committee, is a co-author of the bill, increasing the likelihood that it will receive a public hearing and advance in the legislative process. Other co-authors include Senator Roger Chamberlain (R-Lino Lakes), Senate Karin Housley (R-St. Mary’s Point), and Senator Sandy Pappas (DFL-Saint Paul).
“The eight cities around the lake which unanimously have supported this effort depend on each other for important services,” said Steven Wolgamot, Washington County Chair of the Lake Links Association. “Completion of the Lake Links Trail, as called for by Senate File 3957, will enable everyone, including the 25 percent of the population without driver’s licenses, to travel from one of the cities to another.”
Advocates like the Lake Links Association anticipate construction will conclude by the end of 2020, but it will largely depend on how quickly engineering work is completed. A Capital Investment Committee hearing about the $8.8 million appropriation is expected to take place soon. More information about committee meetings and agendas are available at www.senate.mn/committees.