Northwest Minnesota gains targeted for new projects, jobs
State Senator LeRoy Stumpf, DFL-Plummer, said he is very encouraged to see several Northwest Minnesota projects targeted in Governor Mark Dayton’s capital investment package, released this week. It’s an opportunity to bring hundreds of new jobs to the region, in addition to vital redevelopment needed in many communities, he said.
“Governor Dayton and I agree that a bonding bill is one of the best ways to invest in our state’s future,” Sen. Stumpf said. “Many of these projects are essential for communities around the state. Supporting the projects with a bonding bill now, rather than later, means Minnesota will save millions of dollars by taking advantage of record-low interest rates and construction costs. And as an added benefit, we’ll be adding hundreds of public- and private-sector jobs across the state in the very immediate future, providing a jump-start to the state’s economy.”
Specifically, local bonding projects recommended in Gov. Dayton’s proposal include:
· Roof replacement for Northland Community College
· DNR flood hazard mitigation grants for Crookston, Oslo, Roseau, Climax, Alvarado
· DNR asset preservation for Thief Lake; Lake Bronson State Park; Roseau River WMA
· Airport infrastructure in Warren
· A new stoplight on Highway 32 by Digi Key and Artic Cat in Thief River Falls
There also are opportunities for other projects in the area to take advantage of statewide lump sum allocations for bridge replacement and road improvements. Sen. Stumpf said Gov. Dayton told him he was focused on “shovel- or paint-ready projects,” meaning those that can be started as soon as the ground thaws.
“We’re focused on putting people to work as soon as possible, not a few months or years from now,” Sen. Stumpf said. “In addition, we’re focused on the most vital projects for our state. The Thief River Falls stoplight is a great example – Gov. Dayton made a promise last fall to respond to residents’ safety concerns and prioritize this project during his administration. I’m so pleased he’s kept his promise by including this much-needed project.”
The governor’s bonding proposal recommends about $530 million in capital investment projects, and asks the legislature to agree upon an additional $500 million. Senate Republicans have criticized the concept of a bonding bill as wasteful spending, a comment Sen. Stumpf called concerning.
“Anyone asserting a bonding bill is somehow ‘wasteful’ spending should take a visit to our Northwest Minnesota cities and see the good, needed work that’s been funded with previous bonding dollars,” Sen. Stumpf said. “Our region would look vastly different had we not received flood hazard mitigation dollars from previous bonding bills. What’s wasteful is disregarding the opportunity to work across party lines to save millions of dollars on these projects and put hundreds of people back to work in the next few months. I look forward to working with my colleagues across the state – and across the aisle – to make this bonding bill a success for our region and our state.”