A busy final week at the Legislature has culminated in the passage by both the House and Senate of a 2014 bonding bill. The bill was put together after months of negotiations and input and will result in southeastern Minnesota seeing great benefits and prosperity.
When I have the opportunity to visit with the citizens from the district I represent here at the Capitol and in district, I often speak of and stress not only the importance of working hard, but that we must also work together. This has been very clear during the bonding bill negotiations.
I am fortunate to have a great working relationship with both house members from our district. It is not uncommon to see Rep. Pelowski, Rep. Davids and myself together at events and many times we are on the same side of issues, especially local issues. We have worked very closely together to ensure that the bonding projects critical to our area were included in the bonding bill.
The 2014 bonding bill includes $842 million in general obligation bonds and another $198 million in cash projects. Projects in the bonding bill from our district include Minnesota State College – Southeast Technical, Phase 1 of the Winona State University Education Village, Chatfield Center for the Arts, Port Development Assistance, Fish Hatchery Improvements, Greater Minnesota Business Development Public Infrastructure Grants as well as funding for roads, bridges and infrastructure across the state.
The Minnesota State – Southeast Technical project will design, renovate, repurpose, furnish and equip classroom and lab space at both the Red Wing and Winona campuses and is funded at $1.7 million.
Phase I of the Winona State University Education Village project has been funded at $5.9 million. In the coming bonding years, I will continue to advocate for full funding for this project which, when completed, will design, renovate, remodel, furnish and equip classrooms for the Education Village project that includes Wabasha Hall, Wabasha Rec and the Cathedral School.
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The Chatfield Center for the Arts is funded at $5.352 million and is a grant to the city of Chatfield economic development authority to construct and equip Phase II and Phase IV of the Chatfield Center for the Arts.
Under the Department of Transportation, Port Development Assistance is funded at $2 million for Port improvements across the state and will significantly impact the Port in Winona.
The Department of Natural Resources will fund improvements to fish hatcheries across the state at $2 million which will provide needed assistance to the fish hatchery in Lanesboro.
The Greater Minnesota Business Public Infrastructure Grants are funded at $4 million. Communities in greater Minnesota are eligible for these grants which will help stimulate new economic development, create new jobs and retain existing jobs through investment in public infrastructure.
Finally, the 2014 bonding bill will help improve Minnesota’s crumbling roads, bridges and infrastructure with funding for local bridge replacement programs, greater Minnesota transit and over $54 million in local road improvement grants.
These are important investments that will encourage growth and prosperity in southeastern Minnesota. By working together with our colleagues on both sides of the aisle, Rep. Pelowski, Rep. Davids and I were able to ensure our district was well funded in the 2014 bonding bill.