ST. PAUL – State Representative Bob Dettmer (R-Forest Lake) joined a bipartisan group of House Capital Investment Committee members in touring several sites throughout northern Minnesota this week. Stops on the three-day tour included possible sites for inclusion in 2014 capital spending in the following cities: Fridley, Blaine, Champlin, Anoka, Ironton, Brainerd, Park Rapids, Bemidji, Red Lake, Crookston, Moorhead, Detroit Lakes and Little Falls.
Among hundreds of projects aiming for state funding, the group visited locations such as the Elm Creek Dam, Rum River Dam, Anoka Technical College, Ironton City Hall, Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport, Maplewood State Park and the State Veterans Cemetery.
“I enjoyed visiting with local officials at each stop on our tour and learning more about these proposed projects for state funding,” said Dettmer. “As lawmakers, we have an obligation to perform our due diligence on these project requests and then make the best decisions for spending limited taxpayer dollars in the future.”
Dettmer was pleased to see many available details of various funding requests as the committee moved along, but also commented on the record spending increase of the 2013 legislative session.
“Last spring’s legislature passed historic spending increases on budgets such as Higher Education, the Environment and Natural Resources, and State Government Finance, paid for by higher taxes on hardworking families,” said Dettmer.
Legislators will examine millions in bonding requests when they return for the 2014 session beginning Feb. 25. Dettmer has indicated support for some infrastructure projects seeking funding but has not yet specified what he thinks should be included in bonding legislation next year. Dettmer said he supports several of the projects that maintain roofs and utility services for facilities the state has already helped build.
On the second day of the trip, legislators visited Bemidji State University, Dettmer’s alma mater, for a visit and presentation from school officials.
“It was a real pleasure to return to Bemidji and see how much the campus where I earned my undergraduate degree has changed but also how it has stayed the same,” explained Dettmer.
The trip took place September 17-19. Members of the committee will also tour sites in northeast Minnesota next week.