ST. PAUL, Minn. — St. Paul voters made it clear on election night—they want better roads.
The city projects a new sales tax will raise a billion dollars for road construction projects over the next 15 to 20 years.
"Anyone who lives in St. Paul knows that the streets are not in great shape, and especially during the winter," Shelia Anderson said.
Forty-four miles of roads will be re-done—big ones too.
"It's Hamline, it's Shepard, it's Grand, it's Earl, Summit. It's all these really important streets," Sean Kershaw, St. Paul Public Works Director, said. "We have this important responsibility now to get the work done, to do a good job. The public gave us their trust."
Kershaw says this isn't the temporary patching you see every winter. It's more permanent than that.
"With the sales tax money, rather than fixing the potholes, we fix the streets. We go in, we dig out the street, put in a new sidewalk, new curb," Kershaw said.
While it all sounds well and good, there's skepticism too.
"One of the questions everybody has is, will this money actually be spent on the streets? It has to. By state law, we can be audited. We're violating state law if we don't take all of the revenue and use it for only the projects," Kershaw said.
The first project once the sales tax kicks in next April will be Grand Avenue, between Fairview and Snelling.
"St. Paul's streets are going to be dramatically better in 15 years," Kershaw said.
The 1% increase brings St. Paul's sales tax to 9.875%, which is the highest in the state.
Some of the tax money will also go towards parks, playgrounds and recreational centers.
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