Counties have simple, solid message for state

County officials across Minnesota are asking for some help, and a break, as they face an ongoing and mounting backlog of transportation projects. In other words, they want to fix the roads and bridges that their residents use every day.

We have to sympathize with county officials, who are expected to maintain massive public infrastructure systems but who rely on funding that comes from the state, i.e. state lawmakers and the governor.

County officials this year have a simple request for state leaders. It is: Just send us a reliable supply of funds that meets our needs. You figure out the best way to pay for it.

We believe the counties have found a simple, effective message.

So, at the state level, we hope lawmakers are listening. We know representatives such as state Rep. Bob Gunther, R-Fairmont, and state Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Vernon Center, care about transportation issues. Because we have heard them make cases for sustainable transportation funding. We hope they can work with their colleagues and the governor to find solutions.

From an overall perspective, we believe the state needs to make transportation infrastructure a priority. So, if lawmakers have to pick a few top things to fund, we would say choose education, public safety and transportation. This means getting a better grip on runaway health and welfare spending that consumes so many (49 percent) state budget dollars.