Private Funds Support Public Road Maintenance with Innovative Partnership
Saint Paul, Minnesota, July 15, 2021 — Saint Paul City Council provided final approval, with a 5-0 vote, on July 14, 2021 for an innovative, public-private approach to mill and overlay work at Red Rock Road.
Red Rock Road is deteriorating and poses a threat to businesses operating within the Red Rock Terminal. While the Saint Paul Port Authority owns the terminal, the City of Saint Paul owns the road and it is not a current priority for road maintenance.
According to Kevin Horn, merchandising manager at Gavilon (a Red Rock tenant), the road has been a challenge since 2010. More than 1.8M tons of commodities—from grain and fertilizer to cement and steel—are transported on Red Rock Road each year. Yet, “to our knowledge, since 1971, the road has never been replaced in over 50 years.” He adds, “According to WisDOT, Asphalt roads are likely to last approximately 18 years”.
Horn continues, “The number one complaint for Gavilon’s customers is the state of the road. Recently, the U.S. Post Office refused to service businesses [in the Red Rock Terminal] due to the road conditions.”
The Saint Paul Port Authority, acting as the terminal landlord, proposed a creative solution that leverages private funds to cover the costs associated with replacing mill and overlay on Red Rock Road with a new bituminous surface (BST).
“Mill and overlay” is a street maintenance technique that entails grinding off the top layer of the road, approximately 2”, with a large milling machine. Once removed, it is replaced with a new bituminous surface treatment (BST). BST is considered a seal coat and is commonly used on low-traffic roads.
The City of Saint Paul will provide $1.2 million upfront to cover the cost of the project. Red Rock tenants will then reimburse the city for the full amount. All tenants have agreed to this arrangement in writing and have the option to pay their portion over a 10-year period through a voluntary tax assessment.
“It really took the support of everyone involved, private and public, to get this project pushed through. Gavilon is extremely pleased to hear this road is being repaired in 2021 and excited about the opportunity it will bring,” says Horn.
Roles and Responsibilities
The Saint Paul Port Authority will manage the project, with the City of Saint Paul taking the lead on design requirements and final inspections.
Why the Saint Paul Port Authority
The Saint Paul Port Authority is an economic development agency that expands the City’s tax base, serves as a conduit to quality job opportunities, advances sustainable development, and advocates for river commerce. Ensuring our river tenants have operational roads in and out of their sites is critical to this mission. The Red Rock Terminal is an economic hub that supports 600+ living wage jobs and $1.2 million in annual property taxes.
This project should begin in the fall of 2021.
About the Red Rock Terminal
About the Saint Paul Port Authority
The Saint Paul Port Authority creates quality job opportunities, expands the tax base, and advances sustainable development. Established by the Minnesota Legislature in 1929 to manage the Saint Paul Harbor, the Port Authority balances its efforts between the river and inland economic development. Since 1962, the Port Authority has redeveloped 21 business centers, which provide approximately 25,000 living wages jobs in the City of Saint Paul.
A seven-member Board of Commissioners oversees the Saint Paul Port Authority. The Mayor elects all members. Operating funds comes from numerous sources, including grants from Capital City Properties, interest income from loan products, fees for services, and Saint Paul tax levies.