Rosen: Senate approves bonding bill to fund critical local projects

The Minnesota Senate on Thursday approved a $1.36 billion infrastructure bonding bill that would deliver funding for several critical southern Minnesota projects carried by Senate Finance Committee Chairwoman Julie Rosen (R-Fairmont), as well as funding for local roads and bridges, sewer and water upgrades, and other critical statewide infrastructure. The bill passed on a bipartisan vote of 64-3.

“Clean water is one of the core services that people depend on government to provide,” said Sen. Rosen, chair of the Senate Finance Committee. “In the year 2020 in Minnesota, nobody should have to worry about the cleanliness of their drinking water. Unfortunately, there are several communities in our area who need help upgrading their water systems, and I am thrilled that this bill will help make that happen.”

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.

“Section 179 conformity sounds boring, but this is one of the most important tax changes we can make to benefit Minnesota’s farmers and small businesses,” added Sen. Rosen. “It is difficult to overstate how much it will help them, which is one reason I have been fighting for it for so long. Getting it in this bill is a big victory for farmers and local business owners.”

Highlights of local projects in the bonding bill:

VERNON CENTER WATER INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS

The bill appropriates $7.98 million to the city of Vernon Center for water infrastructure improvements, including refurbishing the water tower, replacement of wastewater collection and water distribution systems, storm sewer system improvements, and related local road improvements.

Vernon Center has a small population, and the community is unable to afford the upgrades, meet its environmental obligations, deliver safe water for its residents, and remain a viable and economical choice for residents in the future. This funding will help to make Vernon Center’s portion more economically viable and ensure the community’s future. 

WALDORF WATER INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS

The bill includes $858,000 for the city of Waldorf to rebuild its crumbling water infrastructure. The city’s sewer and water infrastructure were built in 1948 and are in dire condition. The funding will allow Waldorf to complete the construction of water, wastewater, street, and storm sewer improvements.

MARTIN COUNTY VETERAN MEMORIAL

The bill provides $350,000 to help complete the back part of the Martin County Veteran Memorial in Fairmont. The project will consist of an entrance sign, a 70-foot flag pole with 15-foot by 25-foot US flag display, a black granite wall to accommodate the engraved names of all Martin County veterans, 4 bronze tribute statues, and a presentation area in front of the wall, a black granite sponsor and military branches display wall. The area behind the wall will be a secluded natural setting with 6 additional bronze statues of combat era soldiers with a series of benches, sidewalks, and paths, with the military helicopter at end of the property. The Martin County Veteran Memorial project aims to honor the more than 5,000 men and women of Martin County who have served in our armed forces in WWI, WWII, Korean War, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

MARTIN COUNTY JUSTICE CENTER

Martin County will receive $2.16 million to begin work on a new County Justice Center facility to be located in Fairmont. This facility would include the county jail (64-bed capacity), Sheriff/Fairmont Police Department, dispatch, emergency management, County Attorney offices, victim-witness offices, courts/judges offices, courtroom, court service/DOC offices.

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 Senator Jasinski’s bills to provide 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 $1.13 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.

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