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St Paul (KROC AM News) - A huge bonding/borrowing bill that would fund hundreds of new and rehabilitation construction-related jobs around the state has been approved by the Minnesota House.

Several large projects in SE Minnesota are included in the bill.

The Senate is expected to vote on the $1.9-billion bill Thursday.

Supporters say funds that will flow from the bill will help communities bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will help pay for projects at public higher education institutions, clean water infrastructure, roads and bridges, parks, trails, and more. It also contains supplemental state budget appropriations and a few tax changes.

“Investing in our public infrastructure is a key responsibility of our state government. I’m pleased we were finally able to reach a resolution on this overdue capital investment bill,” said Rochester Rep. Tina Liebling. “While we continue our response to COVID-19, the investments in this bill will create good-paying jobs at a time when too many Minnesotans are unemployed.”

Projects in SE Minnesota include:

  • Olmsted County: Trunk Highway 14 and County Road 104 Interchange Construction $6,000,000 to predesign, design, engineer, construct, furnish, and equip an interchange at Highway 14 and County Road 104, including a flyover at 7th Street NW and associated infrastructure and road work to accommodate the interchange.
  • Rochester International Airport: Runway and Associated Improvements
  • Rochester Cascade Lake Park : $2,500,000 to predesign, design, construct, furnish, and equip improvements of a capital nature,including a pavilion, an amphitheater, performance facilities, picnic shelters, restroom facilities, play areas, park access, and landscaping.
  • Chatfield; Center for the Arts $8,700,000 to predesign, design, renovate, construct, furnish, and equip the Chatfield Center for the Arts in the city of Chatfield, which is generally described as the renovation of the 1916 high school and the installation of a linking structure and related improvements to serve both the 1936 auditorium building and the 1916 school Building.
  • Oronoco; Regional Wastewater System Infrastructure Grant
  • $24,027,000
    (a) $1,350,000 to acquire land and easements, design, and engineer a wastewater collection, conveyance, and treatment system and associated water distribution improvements to serve the city of Oronoco and the region including the Oronoco Estates Manufactured Home Community.
    (b) $22,677,000 to construct and provide construction-related engineering for a wastewater collection, conveyance, and treatment system and associated water distribution improvements to serve the city of Oronoco and the region including the Oronoco Estates
  • Austin; Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • $7,450,000 to design and engineer improvements for upgrades to the
    city's wastewater treatment facility.
  • Caledonia; Wastewater Treatment Plant
    $7,000,000 to construct and equip a new wastewater treatment facility.
  • Lake City - Hok-Si-La Park Water and Sewer Extension and Ohuta Beach Breakwater  Total: $1.6-million
  • Zumbrota - Jefferson Drive (Former US HWY 52) $3-million

Liebling says the bill also includes a series of supplemental budget items, including funding for direct care and treatment programs at the Department of Human Services. The bill also includes funding for a temporary pay increase for personal care attendants who serve people with disabilities, funding to allow the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to test backlogged sexual assault examination kits, and funding for the Minnesota Department of Corrections to keep the “boot camp” early release program running.

It also makes changes to tax policies, including full section 179 conformity to the federal tax code aimed at helping businesses and farmers. It also contains a policy fix for short-term rental properties, flexibility for the Minnesota State High School League’s sales tax proceeds, and an expansion of the homestead property tax exclusion for the spouses of deceased disabled veterans


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