Came across this article today, maybe I lapsed reading about this getting this far in the local media, please correct me if I missed anything;
Lincoln County, S.D. fights for the right kind of road
Lincoln County is located inÂ the southeastern portion of SouthÂ Dakota and includes part of SiouxÂ Falls, the largest city in the state.Â Sioux Falls is a major trade areaÂ for a four-state region and boastsÂ two large health care providers thatÂ are nationally recognized for theirÂ medical research.
The county has seen significantÂ growth over the past 10 years,Â doubling in size to an urbancenteredÂ 50,000-plus populationâ€‹Â from a mainly rural populationÂ of 24,000. The transformationÂ of this county to urban from ruralÂ has been a challenge for the BoardÂ of Commissioners, as has keepingÂ a proper balance between the twoÂ and providing necessary funds toÂ support this growth.
Interstate 29 runs the length ofÂ Lincoln County’s borders, which hasÂ provided for increased transportationÂ opportunities. Just north of itsÂ boundaries is Interstate 90, runningÂ east and west. In addition to groundÂ transportation, Lincoln County isÂ fortunate to own a small regionallyÂ significant airport that has seen increasedÂ activity over the past severalÂ years. It has been used for commercialÂ purposes attracting business usage.
Upon learning that the FederalÂ Highway Administration (FHWA)Â was scheduled to provide an overpassÂ on Interstate 29 for 85th Street,Â which would be a main arteryÂ for transportation into the city ofÂ Sioux Falls, a group of land ownersÂ petitioned the FHWA to consider anÂ interchange instead of an overpassÂ in order to open up opportunity forÂ economic growth. AscertainingÂ that the interchange was not beingÂ considered by the Federal HighwayÂ Administration, the county engagedÂ in a conversation with the South DakotaÂ Department of TransportationÂ to determine if arrangements couldÂ be made at a state and local level toÂ provide for this interchange.
Commissioners Dale Long andÂ Jim Schmidt held several meetingsÂ with the Department of Transportationâ€‹Â Secretary Darrin Berquist andÂ South Dakota Governor DennisÂ Daugaard (R). After several weeksÂ of deliberation and negotiations,Â the end result was that the county would take the lead in borrowing $15
million to be combined with privateÂ investment of $4 million. The stateÂ provided the cash flow necessary to
secure the land for the interchange.Â The deal was struck.
This is the first time in the historyÂ of the state that a public-privateÂ partnership has been successfullyÂ put together for the sole purpose ofÂ economic development. One of theÂ state legislators is further investigating
that this area be designated as an enterpriseÂ zone, which could further beÂ a model for the rest of the state to follow.
NACo President Riki HokamaÂ has made transportation one of theÂ major planks in his administration.Â The challenge that counties faceÂ is to provide increased revenue toÂ meet the demands that are placedÂ upon them. Lincoln County is noÂ exception. As the county lookedÂ towards its future, the commissioners
recognized that without continuedÂ economic growth they would beÂ facing a revenue shortfall in the next
five to seven years.
Rather than waiting for this to happen,Â they acted on the opportunityÂ that was presented to them to invest in
the future, increase their tax base andÂ provide funds necessary for schoolsÂ and communities.