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Rep. Denise Dittrich (DFL-Champlin/Coon Rapids) and Rep. Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park/Coon Rapids) commended the inclusion of funds for the Northstar Corridor as part of the House Capital Investment bill released on Wednesday.
"Even though this is far from full funding, we are happy to receive something to get this project started," said Rep. Dittrich. "It is essential that we get some money now or we could lose the federal funding we have secured."
Supporters of the Northstar Corridor commuter rail project see it as a key to reducing the congestion along Highway 10. Inclusion for this project has been supported by the Senate in the past but has previously failed to receive any funding in the House.
"While this is the first step to getting the project moving, we will continue to work to get the Northstar Corridor fully funded" said Rep. Hortman. "We need to come up with real solutions for our current and future transportation issues."
Rep. Dittrich and Rep. Hortman were also pleased that the Anoka-Ramsey Community College received funds as part of the $49 million Higher Education Asset Preservation for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) campuses. These funds will pay for an addition to an existing building that will be a lot more efficient, add nursing and science labs and upgrade the technology at the school.
"The goal of Anoka-Ramsey Community College (ARCC) is to provide a thriving learning-teaching environment on the Cambridge Campus," said ARCC President Patrick Johns. "This capital project addresses the instructional priorities of the campus."
"We greatly appreciate the effort that Rep. Dittrich and Rep. Hortman have put into this project, along with other key legislators in our service area. Their efforts show that they are truly committed to the community and to higher education," said Johns.
The Ways and Means Committee heard the House Capital Investment bill on Thursday night and no changes were made. It is scheduled for a vote on the House floor on Tuesday.
"There could very possibly be an attempt to strip the Northstar Corridor funding from the bonding bill on the floor," said Rep. Hortman. "If that happens, you can be assured that Rep. Dittrich and I will defend this project."
The Senate approved the project as part of their Capital Investment bill passed last month.
"Today's news indicates that the legislature is taking a positive step forward," said Rep. Dittrich. "It demonstrates that by working together we can get things done."