In exchanging email with Matt Look I informed him I thought the coordinated effort a good one. I complimented him on the effort and promised I would say so on Crabgrass.
This link - for the report.
Look represents District 1, which includes Ramsey and portions of Anoka.
“We’re not talking about bridges to nowhere here,” Look said. “We’re talking about congestion, we’re talking about fatalities.”
Some of the current intersections are also complicated by the rail line that runs parallel to Highway 10, causing both traffic backups and major safety concerns.
Look said emergency responders are being caught on the north side of the train tracks while accidents are happening on the south side of Highway 10.
The group, which in addition to Look will include three representatives from the city of Anoka and two from Ramsey, plans to visit Washington in March when it hopes to meet with U.S. House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster along with Rep. Michele Bachmann as well as Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken. They will also be joined by Ken Butler, Anoka County’s federal transportation lobbyist.
“The county has redirected all of our regional rail dollars to road dollars now,” said Look. “Our hope is to elevate this project not only on the federal radar but on the state radar and through the TAB (Transportation Advisory Board) process and the STIP (State Transportation Improvement Plan) and everything else that needs to happen.”
Look is currently a member of the TAB.
Federal funding could spur the project, which currently does not have any state funding, he said.
“It’s important for us to get in front of Washington, D.C., at this point and try to get some dollars,” Look said. “We have seen in the past if federal dollars come ahead of state planning, all of the sudden the state plans miraculously change.”
[... I]n Ramsey, the push has been on for upgrading the Armstrong Boulevard intersection [with Highway 10] with plans for an interchange coming together.
This $35 million project is also top of Anoka County’s wish list for the 2013 Minnesota Legislature seeking $17 million in state bonding to go along with $10 million in federal funding that is being sought. Anoka County and the city of Ramsey are also expected to chip in $4 million each. The project is also supported by MnDOT, should funding become available.
Creating an interchange at Armstrong will improve public safety, commercial traffic and congestion, said Kurt Ulrich, Ramsey city administrator.
Ulrich and Ramsey Mayor Sarah Strommen will join the local delegation in Washington to lobby for federal funding.
Currently the intersection is within the two car lengths of the rail line, making it unsafe, said Ulrich.
For the Anoka perspective, read the item, I left that out.
There is only one thing I would complain about, using a paid lobbyist, see above, "They will also be joined by Ken Butler, Anoka County’s federal transportation lobbyist."
At least it is not Elwyn Tinklenberg. But to me, paid lobbying is distasteful. If that is how the game is played, I suggest it is not how the game should be played. Taxpayer money going to lobbyists, is an injustice to Ben Dover, the Ramsey Taxpayer.
Paying for local officials to go to Washington DC to talk to other officials, and to explain official needs and hopes is an entirely different thing from paid lobbying [aka schmoozing and boozing, whatever] and I support trying to engage federal officials' support by that means. Council members and a town's top administrator going to DC to interact is a horse of a different color from paying some professional lobbyist, one earning a living doing that sort of thing, with the one wholly decent and the other substantially less decent.