Transportation issues highlight county board agenda

WashCo_logoCommissioners to get St. Croix River bridge update; discuss CTIB issues

Transportation highlights the Washington County Board of Commissioners meeting at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Government Center in Stillwater.

Minnesota Department of Transportation Engineer Jon Chiglo, manager of the St. Croix Crossing bridge project, gives commissioners a quarterly update on the project. Chiglo’s appearance before the county board comes less than a week after MnDOT announced that the agency agreed lease space in a Greeley Street County building for a project office and move in the site next month.

Chiglo annnounced several months ago that MnDOT was looking for an Oak Park Heights location to set up a project office. He said the office would be  a central location for MnDOT project staff and contractors working on the bridge.

In addition to hearing from Chiglo, the board — meeting as the county’s Regional Railroad Authority — holds a workshop with Washington County Public Works to discuss Counties Transit Improvement Board issues.

The CTIB workshop was scheduled after County Engineer Wayne Sandberg presented commissioners with an overview of a study by Gov. Mark Dayton’s Transportation Finance Advisory Committee. Commissioners will get a CTIB overview, discuss the county’s involvement in CTIB and CTIB’s legislative platform as it relates to the county’s adopted legislative platform.

CTIB was created by the legislature in 2008. It is funded by a quarter-cent sales and $20 motor vehicle sale excise taxes. The $100 million per year of revenue generated is required to be used for transit. CTIB’s vision is a network of connected transitways fully integrated with other transportation.

Washington County, along with Anoka, Dakota, Hennepin and Ramsey counties form CTIB’s joint-powers board. The Metropolitan Council is also represented on the CTIB board and Scott and Carver counties are non-voting members.

According to a WPW memo, CTIB’s legislative platform is scheduled for annual adoption by lawmakers Feb. 20. Key items include support for CTIB’s existing structure, adequate funding for metro transit services and transitway developkment and expansion of the metro transit capital levy.

But WPW officials note in their memo that Dayton’s TFAC group suggests an additional quarter-cent sales tax on the seven metro counties to fund a variety of proposals. County officials said the TFAC report is not clear on who authorizes the proposed sales tax, the legislature, Met Council or counties.

Officials added that the current legislature has not expressed interest in advancing transit governance reform in this session. That reform is a county legislative platform item.

Other items on the board’s agenda are:

  •          Consider a resolution to acquire a conservation easement over the Priory Nature Area addition in Oakdale. Commissioners last year approved an agreement between the county and Oakdale to buy 5.4 acres ner the intersection of Minnesota highways 120 and 5. The county would pay 50 percent of the purchase cost, with Oakdale reimbursing the county and conveying an easement over the site when the county provides the funds.

Oakdale plans to use the property, formerly owned by Peter and Paul Taubenberger, as park and open space.

  •          Holds a workshop with Department of Public Health and Environment staff to discuss the Recycling Performance Scorecard work group’s role. The work group was formed after the new county waste management master plan adopted strategies to reach the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s more aggressive waste objectives.

The work group is to review and discuss features and components of a recycling scorecard; review and comment on a draft scorecard; help pilot test electronic components of the scorecard where applicable, and help present the proposed scorecard to other county cities and townships.

Foth Infrastructure and Environment is the project contractor. The work group holds its first meeting at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the county’s Cottage Grove Service Center.

Contact Erik Sandin at [email protected]