St. Paul, MN– The Minnesota House of Representatives gave final approval on Monday to legislation that provides funding for a variety of projects around the state with a heavy emphasis on public infrastructure like clean water, wastewater treatment, roads, bridges, flood mitigation, and preservation of state-owned assets. The bill was part of a deal struck by legislative leaders that also will provide $300 million to save rural nursing homes and hospitals in Minnesota.
State Representative Jeff Backer, R-Browns Valley, voted in support of the General Obligation bond portion of the package and said that it was important to support a bill that placed a heavy emphasis on meat and potatoes infrastructure projects to keep rural communities strong. He also noted that more general fund dollars were used to pay for projects in this bonding bill than in any before.
“Many small communities in Minnesota do not have the tax base needed to fully fund important infrastructure projects that their residents depend on like wastewater treatment plants or flood mitigation,” said Backer. “In these instances, it is important for the state of Minnesota to step in and assist to provide the additional funding needed to make sure these projects can move forward so that residents can drink clean water or to make sure their homes are protected from flooding.”
Local projects include:
- Flood mitigation projects for Browns Valley and Red Path
- Aquatic Facility in Pelican Rapids
- Riverfront Corridor in Fergus Falls
- Fergus Falls Readiness Center
Backer also noted that part of the package includes a separate $300 million in emergency funding for nursing homes. All session long, House Republicans have been pushing to make sure the crisis impacting rural nursing homes was adequately addressed.
“There are countless nursing homes across Minnesota that have already closed their doors and many more are at risk of closing for good. It is shameful that it took this long for House Democrats to join us in fighting for our seniors and the incredible staff that provide care. I am overjoyed that we were able to fight tooth and nail to save our nursing homes. Playing politics with the lives of seniors is unacceptable and I am glad we could get this done.”
The bill now heads to Governor Walz’s desk where it awaits his signature.