Editorial: County board made the right decision on road

Published 8:49 pm Thursday, October 4, 2018

We commend the Freeborn County Board of Commissioners for making the hard vote on Tuesday to withdraw its commitment to pave a two-mile stretch of Freeborn County Road 49.

The board had previously voted in May to pave the road after a group of residents petitioned with more than 100 signatures. The stretch of road in Mansfield Township intersects Freeborn County roads 2 and 4 and was paved for at least 25 years prior, before it was turned back to gravel a couple years ago due to lack of funding.

We think the commissioners in May voted prematurely without having a funding source in place for the estimated $800,000 project and realized this more during recent budget talks.

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For the project to have been made possible, it would have required either a tax levy that would have affected all county residents or it would have required cuts be made in other parts of the county budget.

Even if the project could have been lumped in with another street project, there still would have been a substantial cost.

This issue further paints a picture of the need for long-term transportation funding across the state.

County officials have previously stated the county has a $5 million yearly funding deficit for roads, even after the passage of the wheelage tax and the sales tax.

We hope county leaders use this as an example when lobbying for increased transportation funding at the state level.

If changes aren’t made and a sustainable funding source isn’t made statewide, it could happen again somewhere else.