Proposed improvements to Highway 10 in Ramsey received a significant funding boost from a federal grant recently.
The $40 million Investment to Revitalize America’s Infrastructure grant is around 29% of the $138 million estimated total cost of the Ramsey Gateway Improvement Project.
“We are well on our way to lining up all of the necessary funding to finish the project,” Anoka County Board Chair Scott Schulte said.
The planned project includes improving intersections on Highway 10 at Ramsey Boulevard and Sunfish Lake Boulevard as well as grade separations with the railroad.
“We’re ecstatic about it,” said Commissioner Matt Look, in whose district the project is located. “This has been 15 years in the making.”
The $40 million grant will be used either to purchase right of way or for construction costs.
Currently, the county has $3.5 million from state bonding for the railroad interchanges, Schulte said. Another $8 million total has been committed by the city of Ramsey and Anoka County.
After the federal grant, approximately $51.5 million has been committed to the project, and county officials hope the rest of the money will come soon.
“We think that we can get there this year,” Look said.
County officials are currently asking for $8.5 million from the state Legislature in trunk highway funds. They are also asking for $37 million in general obligation bonds to pay for right of way acquisition and engineering, Schulte said. That could bring the total to over $90 million committed to the project.
“I’m optimistic some days, and other days I’m frustrated,” Schulte said. “They get a little bit of politics playing down there and good projects lose out when they start playing politics.”
Look wants the project to get funded this year, because costs will likely increase as time passes. Look calls it the “burn rate” of construction, which adds about 5% in costs from inflation every year, he said.
“My hope is that the legislators will kind of put politics aside,” Look said. “We really need to deal with the infrastructure, because those projects don’t go away.”
The county is also seeking another $20 million through the Metropolitan Council’s regional solicitation program.
Those grants are years out, Schulte said. He expects the county will have to figure out some advanced payments and then use the grants in years following the project to pay the government back.
Schulte also expects the Minnesota Department of Transportation will provide several million dollars in construction and design services at no cost. Some additional money is expected to come from a resurfacing fund for the highway as well.
Construction of the project is slated to begin in 2024. It will come on the heels of Highway 10 construction in Anoka, which is expected to take place in 2022 and 2023.
This story has been updated.