Ramsey began the first of presumably many grant applications to fund improvements to Highway 10 through the city.

The City Council approved an application for $25 million through the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development grant program (BUILD for short) for Ramsey Gateway improvements.

Under the resolution, the firm Bolton & Menk will prepare the grant application for a total cost to the city of up to $15,000.

The impetus behind the grant application is the approvals of funding for projects in Anoka and Elk River. The projects include Anoka’s portion of projects identified under the Highway 10 Access Planning Study and a grade separation of intersections with Highway 169 in Elk River.

With construction slated for 2022 and 2023, that would leave Ramsey as the only city with at-grade traffic signals on Highway 10, according to the city.

Applying now is important for moving the project forward, even if the grant is not accepted, according to City Engineer Bruce Westby. That’s because most first-time grant requests are not successful, but improve their chances each time they are submitted.

“The sooner we start, the better chance we have of securing that funding so that we can start our improvements directly on the heels, or at the same time if everything fell into place, as Anoka and Elk River,” Westby said.

A current estimate for all proposed improvements on Highway 10 is $125 million, according to city documents. The city anticipates requiring multiple external sources of money to fund the project.

The grant could be critical in creating momentum for further funding from other sources. The first funding tends to be the most difficult money to secure.

“The more funds you start accumulating as you go, the easier the following funds are to accrue,” Westby said.

2019 BUILD Grants can reward up to $25 million and only $90 million can go to any one state, divided evenly between urban and rural areas.

The grant requires matching funds from the city, though the grant will have to come before the council again before final approval, according to city documents.

Under The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019, the Department of Revenue is authorized to appropriate $900 million this year in national infrastructure investments as BUILD grants.

The money is intended for capital investment in surface transportation infrastructure that have significant local or regional impact. Special consideration is to be given to projects that emphasize improved access to reliable and safe transportation for rural communities.

Ramsey has until July 15 to submit the grant proposal.

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