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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Alicia Kozlowski (DFL)

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Minn. House passes Capital Investment package with key Duluth priorities

Monday, March 6, 2023

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Today, the Minnesota House approved two pieces of capital investment legislation, delivering nearly $1.9 million for local jobs and projects throughout the state, including key priorities within the city of Duluth. The package of legislation is split between a $1.5 billion bonding bill (HF 669), using General Obligation (GO) bonds, and a $393 million cash bill (HF 670) through the general fund.

“No matter where they live, all Minnesotans deserve to live in safe, vibrant, and inclusive communities. Modern infrastructure is key to ensuring our local, regional, and state economies can continue to grow,” said Rep. Liz Olson (DFL – Duluth). “These capital investment bills are thoughtfully assembled over the past two years, with a vision to strengthen our entire state featuring projects ready for work to quickly begin.”

“More than ever, our state deserves a robust capital investment bill to deliver on the extensive backlog of infrastructure needs,” said Rep. Alicia Kozlowski (DFL-Duluth). “These are projects that are crucial to communities throughout the state, and quick action to catch up not only sets us up for another bonding bill, but the longer we delay this unfinished work, the more expensive inflation will drive up costs. These investments are one of the most powerful tools we have to lift up communities across the state by creating good-paying job opportunities, make our communities more climate-resilient, promote community growth and building, and center racial equity to meet the unique needs of all Minnesotans.”

House File 669, the first bill taken up, focuses on taking care of existing infrastructure and leveraging federal funds that are available for certain projects. Locally, it included funding for integrated manufacturing workforce labs at Lake Superior College and improvements at the Duluth Veterans Cemetery. Additionally, the legislation extends authorization for previously approved bonding for the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District’s combined heat and power system. Statewide, the bill also restores and protects our natural spaces, and funds critical infrastructure, such as water and transportation systems, that allow communities throughout the state to grow and thrive.

House File 670 included cash-funded investments in projects including Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center renovations, repair and replacement of facilities at Spirit Mountain, and Armory Arts and Music Center renovations. Additionally, the bill funded a variety of other projects to protect communities from flooding, create safer nonmotorized transportation options, provide clean water, expand local recreational opportunities, modernize healthcare facilities, ensure safe shelter for youth, and increase educational and job training opportunities, among other things. It also includes numerous investments in BIPOC-led nonprofits that provide essential community services.

Passage of the legislation represented steps towards completing the work set by last session’s bipartisan budget framework agreement. Since it calls for the sale of GO bonds, HF 669 required a bipartisan supermajority and passed with a vote of 91-43. HF 670 passed with a vote of 98-36. The legislation now goes to the Minnesota Senate for its consideration.