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The focus shifted to the state level six to eight years ago, he said. City leaders expressed optimism last year, before the Legislature was in session, that their efforts were finally paying off.

"The next step is to acquire the property and start," Slocum said, envisioning the tunnel being possibly complete in three years.

´╗┐Funding for Richfield tunnel was 20 years in the making

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"I think it's going to be terrific for Richfield but also for the commuter that's going to be stuck in traffic on 494," Thissen said.

tunnel funding.

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"The federal government really stopped using earmarked funds for projects like that," Devich explained.

With more fundraising left, enough money is already secured to acquire the necessary property and begin the design build process, Slocum said. City leaders hope to acquire the remaining funds with help from the Met Council, Metro Transit, the Metropolitan Airports Commission and the developer of the mall expansion, she

Key influencers in the bonding bill including Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL St. Paul, who chairs the House Capital Investment Committee, and Rep. Frank Hornstein, DFL Minneapolis, House Transportation Finance Committee chair had visited the site of the proposed tunnel.

Slocum was further encouraged after LeRoy Stumpf, DFL Plummer, chair of the Senate Capital Investment Committee, visited the site of the underpass. She also gained hope provision for the project appeared in both the Senate and House bonding bills.

Selling the tunnel as a regional project, he added, was key to its inclusion in the bonding package.

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Having worked on the funding since taking office in 2006, Slocum argued that the underpass would take pressure off Interstate 494 by creating another route to the airport. She further argued for the need by pointing to the upcoming expansion of Mall of America.

"I think we're going to see their neighborhood perk up," Slocum said, citing the jobs and economic development the tunnel is expected to spur.

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That's on top of the purported benefit to Richfield itself, especially in the city's southeastern region, where the tunnel would be located.

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Back at the Legislature, Slocum worked the capital investment committees in the House and Senate.

"Rep. Linda Slocum was incredibly persistent every day talking to me about it, and Mayor Debbie Goettel contacted me many times about it," said Thissen, who represented Richfield before redistricting in 2012.

The tunnel, which would join 77th Street in Richfield with the east side of Cedar Adidas Tracksuit Online Shopping

Devich said in October that the visit gave him "more of a sense of encouragement and optimism than I have had in a long time that we'll get something out of the bonding bill."

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With 77th Street connected to the airport, the road would be a Adidas Sweatshirt Navy Blue companion to American Boulevard, which connects to the Mall of America.

"The project is good for Minnesota for a number of reasons," she wrote. "It will promote redevelopment along the southeastern borders of Richfield, providing a commercial 'buffer' to protect neighborhoods from airport and highway impacts. It will connect the two sides of Highway 77 that had been previously disconnected by the highway, easing the process of crossing the highway for pedestrians, bikers, and those not on the Interstate."

sought the underpass for more than 20 years, according to City Manager Steve Devich. The project was an initially included in the vision for the reconstruction of 77th Street, completed in the late 1990s.

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A long coveted tunnel that would connect Richfield to the airport has taken a giant leap closer to reality.

The funding victory came after a shift in focus in the city's lobbying efforts. Rep. Martin Sabo, but a change in the political climate and Sabo's departure from office proved a hinderance.

With more than half the necessary tunnel funds now granted, Richfield leaders plan to meet with MnDOT to determine how exactly to proceed, said Devich, who after 20 years asking for the money, doesn't plan to waste any time.

The city has identified six parcels that must be purchased, including apartments and a Motel 6.

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The city of Richfield has Adidas Red Sweatshirt Women's

"I begged and I pleaded," she said.

New bridges across Interstate 494 on Penn and Lyndale avenues, completed in 2009, were also part of the overall plan for the stretch. The tunnel is the final piece of that vision, Devich said.

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Sen. Melissa Halvorson Wiklund, DFL Bloomington, represents southern and western Richfield, and also promoted the Maroon Adidas Sweatshirt

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Slocum also credited House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL Minneapolis, with whom she said she worked closely.

Avenue, is set to receive at least $15 million in funding through the state's new bonding bill, according to Rep. Linda Slocum, DFL Richfield, who pushed for the provision in the Legislature. It is up to Richfield to secure the remaining funds for the project, estimated to cost $25 million, Slocum said.

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