The Minnesota Senate on Thursday approved a $1.36 billion infrastructure bonding bill that would deliver funding for flood prevention, including the hotly discussed Henderson Highway 93 project, as well as several other critical infrastructure priorities like roads and bridges and clean water.
In a significant breakthrough, the city of Henderson will finally receive funding to fix roadways that have experienced ongoing flooding problems for many years. Henderson will receive $24.8 million to raise the State Highway 93 Scenic Byway, and Sibley County will receive $14 million to raise the Highway 6 Scenic Byway to alleviate flooding problems. Flooding in the Minnesota River Valley has created traffic and mobility challenges for Henderson for decades. Roadways leading into and out of Henderson have been hit especially hard in recent years, with closures due to flooding reaching an all-time high. During seasonal flooding events, residents and commuters traveling through the area have to resort to detours that take them miles out of their way, a public safety hazard that also costs both time and money.
“I am absolutely thrilled that Henderson will finally be able to fix these roads that have been causing so much stress and frustration,” said Sen. Scott Newman (R-Hutchinson). “Overall, this is a pretty good bill that focuses on what our state needs: critical infrastructure, roads, and bridges – particularly in Greater Minnesota.”
The bill also provides full, retroactive conformity to Section 179 of the federal tax code, a major reform that will allow farmers and other small business owners to deduct large equipment purchases. Section 179 conformity has been a top Senate Republican priority for several years.
The bill creates a new Project Development Fund that would be used to get road projects into shovel ready status, so that it is faster to get projects up and running when funding is ready. Highway 212 is on the list of projects set to receive funding under this program, which would put it in a strong position to get completed.
Other notable projects included in the bill:
MCLEOD COUNTY – HIGHWAY 15/MORNINGSIDE DRIVE
McLeod County will receive $1 million to acquire land and to design and construct a new urban street extension of Highway 15/Morningside Drive, including a railroad crossing, stormwater, and drainage improvements.
REGIONAL ACTIVITY CENTERS
Dassel/Cokato will receive $1 million and Litchfield will receive $5 million for regional activity centers.
The Dassel/Cokato project will complete the construction, furnishing, and equipping of the school district’s Regional Activity Center to include a walking track, field house, ice rink, gymnastics facility, community center, and other items necessary for the function of the facility
The Litchfield project proposes several improvements, including upgrading existing recreation facilities, as well as adding new recreation facilities to the community. In order to maintain the long-term viability of the City’s civic arena, the rink floor and refrigeration piping beneath the floor need to the reconstructed. In addition to upgrading the existing facilities, the City is also looking to add a recreational facility to the community.
LOCAL ROADS AND BRIDGES
In addition, the bill calls for $5 million for township road improvement grants, as well as $3 million for safe routes to school infrastructure improvements, $84 million for state road construction, and additional road and bridge funding for small communities, especially in Greater Minnesota – namely, $30 million for local bridge replacement and rehabilitation and $70 million for local road improvements.
The Senate’s bonding bill totals $1.365 billion in general obligation bonds, plus $300.3 million for trunk highway bonds, and focuses on key infrastructure needs that will get Minnesotans working, preserve the state’s assets, and stimulate the economy.