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House paves way for $315 million in federal funds to improve infrastructure

Moving quickly to get ahead of the road construction season, the House passed a bill Monday to unlock millions in federal money for transportation infrastructure.

The House unanimously passed HF26, which would appropriate $315.5 million from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to the Department of Transportation. The amount reflects federal funds currently accessible for, in part, the state’s roads, bridges and transit purposes. The bill now goes to the Senate.

Sponsored by Rep. Erin Koegel (DFL-Spring Lake Park), the bill would fulfill a fiscal year 2023 request for increased state road construction budget authority. This includes $235 million to restore Trunk Highway Bonds used as a state match for bridge, community resiliency and carbon reduction programs and to address inflationary impacts and gaps in existing projects. There is also $80 million to fully fund the approved State Transportation Improvement Program.

“This is the first piece of the IIJA puzzle, I guess you would say,” Koegel said.

The bill would give MnDOT authority to spend $315.5 million it has received through the federal IIJA, which passed Congress after Minnesota passed its 2021-22 budget.

Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Mpls), chair of the House Transportation Finance and Policy Committee, said there’s urgency to the bill.

“By passing this today, we are able to get this money out in time for projects to be let for the beginning of the construction season,” Hornstein said.

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