ST. PAUL, MINN. – Thousands of jobs would be created in Minnesota if a proposed Senate bonding bill passes into law. Bonding – another term for capital investment – allows the state to sell bonds to raise money for shovel-ready projects that address critical needs for roads and bridges, higher education, infrastructure improvements, flood protection and reduction, and business development across the state.
While the overall size of the bonding bill is relatively modest, Capital Investment Committee member Senator Kent Eken (DFL-Twin Valley) was pleased to see several of his projects included. This is especially beneficial for our region when considering the intense competition to be included in the bill. The overall bonding bill contains about $1 billion of projects but there were over $3.5 billion of requests. The Senate bonding bill investment would complete many flood mitigation efforts in Northwestern Minnesota.
“Flood mitigation doesn’t work unless you see it completed. We have invested heavily in many projects that are close to completion and now we should finish what we have started with this final push,” said Sen. Eken. “Flood protection is a basic need and a wise investment. For every dollar we put into flood protection we save several dollars in clean up and repair from flood damage.”
Also included in the bill is funding for expanding a Transportation Center at M – State Moorhead, a diesel mechanic facility that will accommodate the growing needs in this area of the state. The bill also includes funding for fixing and maintaining buildings at MSUM.
“Bonding gives us an opportunity to prioritize those things that let Minnesota and its citizens succeed. By investing in asset preservation and improvements at our colleges and universities, we are giving our students access to the highest quality education that they expect and deserve,” said Eken. “The investments we make now will pay dividends in the future.”
One proposal that Sen. Eken was pleased to see included is $3 million to construct and rehabilitate various childhood learning centers like Headstart and parenting time centers across the state. Additionally 80% of these centers would be built or rehabilitated in rural Minnesota.
Another project included in the bonding proposal is for completing a section of the Heartland Trail, connecting Detroit Lakes to Frazee. Currently our area of Minnesota is the only part of the state without a year-round regional trail system.
Details of the bill may change in the next few days, as the Senate and House proposals move through committee. The legislature must pass their respective bills with a final 3/5 majority vote. Once passed, the bills will go into Conference Committee to put together a final bonding bill that will have to pass each body a second time. As the last weeks of Session unfold, the bonding bill will be one of the final bills to be passed.
The full details of the Senate’s bonding proposal, including a spreadsheet with the comprehensive list of projects is available at http://build.mn/.
For information on this or any legislation, please contact Sen. Kent Eken at 651-296-3205 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.