I hope you have been able to get out and enjoy this beautiful weather before it begins to cool down again. At the Capitol we are in the midst of budget bill season where we are passing budgets on various topics. Once the House and Senate pass our respective bills we’ll meet in joint “conference” committees to determine the final budgets we’ll send to the Governor for his signature.
Highway 494 Reconstruction
The first construction project part of the I-494: Airport to Hwy 169 vision will begin this year on I-494 between East Bush Lake Rd. in Edina and 12th Ave. North in Richfield.
Crews will construct E-ZPass lanes on I-494 from Hwy 100 to I-35W in each direction, add a new ramp at the I-35W and I-494 interchange, replace the bridges crossing over I-494 at Portland Ave., Nicollet Ave., and 12th Ave., and add a new pedestrian bridge at Chicago Ave. that crosses over I-494 to provide an additional pedestrian and bicycle connection across I-494.
When work is completed, the E-ZPass lanes and the new ramp at the I-35W and I-494 interchange will address congestion on the interstate. The new bridges at Portland, Nicollet, and 12th Ave. will accommodate future traffic levels, provide wider, accessible sidewalks, new bike lanes, and upgrades to some transit stations. MNDOT will be removing access to I-494 from Nicollet Ave. and 12th Ave., but will provide full access to I-494 from Portland Ave.
In 2022, with democracy squarely on the ballot, Minnesotans of every race, generation, region, and background showed up to participate in democracy and to protect it. And the best way to protect democracy is to expand it. That’s why we voted this week to pass the Democracy for the People Act, which expands voter participation and limits the influence of dark money in our elections. These are just a few of the policies that will help us ensure that every Minnesotan has the freedom to vote and power is firmly in the hands of the people.
House Higher Ed Budget Proposal
On Wednesday, we passed our proposed Higher Education budget. With declining enrollment across higher education, we’re providing a record increase in investment for Minnesota’s colleges and universities. Our budget prioritizes a higher education system that is accessible, affordable, and effectively building the skilled workforce Minnesota deserves.
Whether it’s a tuition freeze across the Minnesota State system, addressing the U of M’s tuition shortfall, investing in our tribal colleges, or ensuring today’s students are prepared for tomorrow’s jobs, our Higher Education budget is a crucial component in making Minnesota an Education State.
2023 Legacy Budget Bill
In 2008, Minnesota’s voters passed the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment because all of us want our state to be a great place to live, work, and play. On Wednesday, House DFLers passed legislation investing over $820 million to continue the important work of restoring, enhancing, and protecting Minnesota’s most treasured spaces and places and increasing access for all.
With investments in our outdoor heritage, clean water, parks and trails, and arts and cultural heritage, the 2023 Legacy Budget Bill will make our state a better place to live for current and future generations, including by expanding free parks days and arts and cultural education programs. DFLers are expanding opportunities so all communities can access Legacy funding.
The Tax bill is one of the last bills to be passed after the rest of the budget is set, but the first draft of the House Tax bill should be presented in the coming week. I expect that it will include both Social Security and Property Tax relief, as well as child tax credits. I’ll issue another update as soon as it’s released.
Keep in Touch
Don’t hesitate to reach out if I can provide any assistance. Please follow me on my Facebook page for further updates and invite your friends and family to do so as well.
Thanks for the honor of representing you at the Capitol.
Steve Elkins Representative, District 50B Minnesota House of Representatives