The City of New Auburn apparently will not be able to tap into federal stimulus money for its major street project this year.
New Auburn City Clerk Wendy Becker reported Friday that it is her understanding that New Auburn won’t qualify for the funds. A City must have a population of at least 5,000 or a federally funded road that is constructed through the town, she explained. It appears that bridges and federal projects already implemented were given a higher priority, she said.
New Auburn was hoping to tap into the federal funds to lower the estimated $1.665 million cost for street improvements throughout the community.
Gaylord City Administrator Kevin McCann said that Gaylord had also hoped to tap into the funds for a potential street project this summer. The City is still looking into tapping into funds for other special projects, such as improving the energy efficiency to the City offices, a community center, or a pool project, McCann explained.
Sibley County Public Works Director Darin Mielke said as of now, there will be one highway project in Sibley County that will be funded with the stimulus. It will be mill and overlay of Highway 93, from Highway 169 to Le Sueur. That stretch of highway is in Sibley County.
The Mankato District of the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) had Highway 22 on the potential list of stimulus projects, but it did not make the final cut. Mielke believes, however, that the stimulus will free up the “traditional” federal funding sources to possibly move Highway 22 and Highway 5 up sooner than what MnDOT had been planning.
Sibley County had also applied for the federal stimulus funds to be used for an eight mile shoulder widening project on CSAH 2 north of Gibbon. Mielke expects he will be notified in one or two weeks whether or not this project will be funded.
Trailblazer Transit, the Sibley and McLeod County transportation system, is waiting to hear if it will receive $1.5 million for a new facility in Glencoe. Gary Ludwig, director of Trailblazer Transit, said the phase one environmental study has been completed and it is expected to be reviewed with the Minnesota Department of Transportation Friday. Ludwig does not expect to hear until mid March whether or not Trailblazer will receive stimulus funds.