SAINT PAUL – Today, the Minnesota House passed a Jobs & Local Projects and Critical Economic Development bill with investments in infrastructure and economic stimulus to help communities bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other items, the legislation contains $1.879 billion toward public assets such as higher education institutions, clean water infrastructure, roads and bridges, transit, parks, trails, and funding for underserved communities.
During negotiations to develop the legislation, Rep. Fue Lee (DFL – Minneapolis) was instrumental in securing $30 million in the package dedicated to equity, which includes funding for projects important to people of color and Indigenous communities. He also ensured the bill contained a new policy requiring diversity hiring goals and equal pay for state bond-funded projects.
“Investments in infrastructure and community organizations – especially those serving communities usually left behind by capital investment bills – are critical to helping our economy recover,” said Rep. Lee, who serves as Vice Chair of the House Capital Investment Division which, in the fall of 2019, traveled more than 3,200 miles visiting 230 sites of potential projects. “When our investments intentionally break down disparities, our whole state can thrive. I’m proud this overdue bill not only funds the physical infrastructure important to our community’s vitality, but tackles inequities and discrimination to help create career opportunities for people of color, women, and people with disabilities.”
Projects within Rep. Lee’s North Minneapolis legislative district include the Mississippi River Trail Connection at 26th Ave. N., D-Line Bus Rapid Transit through north Minneapolis from Brooklyn Center to the Mall of America, a new outdoor music venue on the Upper Harbor Site along the Mississippi River, phase one of the North Commons Improvement Project, property acquisition for Juxtaposition Arts, and the Baldwin Square development.
Elsewhere in the city of Minneapolis, the bill funds the Emergency Training Center, the Central City Storm Tunnel, the American Indian Center, the Indigenous Peoples Task Force, the 38th Street Cultural Wellness Center, and the Native American Community Clinic.
The bill also contains $116 million in bonding for public housing rehabilitation and new housing infrastructure. A full list of projects included in the bill can be accessed here and the legislation itself can be accessed here.