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County Board supports transit borrowing plan

The Washington County Board voted to continue participating in a transit improvement program funded with a local sales tax.

Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously backed a resolution for a $110 million bonding package by the Counties Improvement Transit Board, the regional group that collects sales tax revenue from five counties and allocates it to area transit projects.

By supporting the bonding plan, to be voted on later this month by Counties Transit Improvement Board members, commissioners essentially voiced support for continued involvement in the program that once divided them.

The CTIB bonding plan, which would support projects in other counties in the next few years, will require a total contribution of $8.4 million to $9.7 million from Washington County over a 20-year bond repayment period.

Washington County collects roughly $4.8 million annually from a quarter-percent sales tax, which is pooled together with sales tax revenue from the other counties. Washington County is guaranteed $2.7 million annually, through 2013, for local projects. In future years, however, a CTIB budget plan proposes spending upward of $300 million for transit improvements along the Interstate 94 corridor in Woodbury and other commuting corridors.

Commissioner Myra Peterson of Cottage Grove said continued participation is a good long-term investment for the county.

Washington County has been part of the CTIB program since 2008, when commissioners voted 3-2 to participate in the program and begin collecting a one-quarter percent sales tax.

See the upcoming print edition of the South Washington County Bulletin for more on this story.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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