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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Dave Baker (R)

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Funding for Highway 23

Friday, June 1, 2018

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Dear Neighbors,

I have great news to report this week from St. Paul. On Wednesday, Governor Dayton signed our bonding bill which contained up to $105 million of funding to create a continuous four-lane road on Highway 23 between the cities of Willmar and St. Cloud.

I’m ecstatic to see funding for Highway 23 be signed into law. We’ve been waiting so long for these needed dollars, and it’ll have a big impact on our area. This will make Highway 23 safer, increase commerce for cities along this stretch, and make it easier to travel in west central Minnesota.

I want to thank Bob Dols of Willmar and the rest of the Highway 23 Task Force for their years of work and advocacy to help this funding become law. There have been so many advocates for this cause that deserve our thanks. Funding for Highway 23 has been years in the making, but I want to thank every single person who helped get this over the finish line. This is amazing news!

Our bonding bill contains the Highway 23 dollars, but also has another important provision: $25 million to make safety improvements to Minnesota schools. The bonding portion of the bill as presented to the governor also includes:

  • $178 million asset preservation
  • $123 million for water-related projects
    • $20 million for flood work
  • $208 million for higher education construction
  • $541 million for transportation
  • $32 million for veterans homes in Preston, Bemidji, and Montevideo
  • $28 million for mental health crisis centers

Following the disappointing vetoes of our bills to provide tax relief, combat the opioid epidemic, and increase school funding, the signing of this bill was needed. While I think our bonding bill will help Minnesotans around the state, I think we’d be hard-pressed to find folks who are more thankful for this bill to be signed than those who’ve spent years working on Highway 23.

I’ll continue to keep you posted on the latest news, and hope you’ll contact me if you need anything.

Have a great weekend,