There are a number of questions that need to be answered before the city should commit taxpayer dollars to the 65th street interchange. To date, city administration has failed to even have meaningful discussion with the City Council for as long as I have been on the council.
I acknowledge that for short periods of the day we have some congestion issues at 55th street and Highway 52. I am up there most days. However, do we build a new interchange before gathering data on the most cost effective solution?
- Rochester is approaching the geographic size of Minneapolis with less than 1/3 of the population and we can not currently maintain our existing infrastructure, who will pay to maintain our infrastructure?
- Would improved transit and restricted left turns at certain times of the day address the current congestion situation?
- If 50th avenue presents a shorter alternative path to downtown and it is not being used much today, why do we believe that a longer path via 65th street will do better?
- How will the taxpayers recoup our investment in infrastructure given the failure to do so at 40th and 48th streets (and my suspected future failure at Elk Run)?
- Will already planned projects including the 55th street extension, Valleyhigh expansion, or 55th street / Members parkway / West Circle Drive Interchange fix our issues?
- Would speeding up one of these projects be a wiser investment than new infrastructure?
- How will we prevent the mistakes at 55th from being repeated at 65th give our land use policies have not significantly changed?
- Since we have at least a 30 year supply of developable land should be open more?
- How much taxpayer subsidies will go into the new areas?
- (edit) Were we really going to begin construction before we had secured funding?
Until staff is willing to present meaningful answers to these questions, I feel if is reckless and fiscally irresponsible to proceed with this project. Not only has staff not provided answers to these questions, but they have not even met with the council on the topic.