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Minnesota Legislature

House passes funding change for $100 million in bonding projects

Local communities are seeking money from the state to fund water infrastructure projects and most lawmakers want them to get it. In fact, they appropriated millions of dollars in 2018 to help.

But the source of those funds was the subject of a lawsuit last October and, while that legal battle plays out, the appropriations cannot be made and many of those projects, along with a number of others, cannot go forward.

The House moved to solve that problem Monday, voting 105-16 to approve HF80.

Sponsored by Rep. Mary Murphy (DFL-Hermantown), the bill would repeal the 2018 appropriations, which were to have come from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. Instead, it would make appropriations in nearly the same amounts that instead come from the sale of general obligation bonds.

The bill now goes to the Senate where Sen. David Senjem (R-Rochester) is the sponsor.

If it becomes law, more than $100 million would be raised through bond sales to fund projects around the state, including $59 million to be distributed by the Public Facilities Authority as grants for local water infrastructure projects.

Murphy said last year’s appropriations were $98 million, but HF80 would appropriate just over $102 million because of an additional $4 million, on top of the $6 million appropriated last year, to be used by Anoka County to clean up the Waste Disposal Engineering landfill site.

“It doesn’t change any project, it allows projects to continue that were allotted the money last year,” Murphy said.

Rep. Dean Urdahl (R-Grove City) said the bill would help cities whose projects “have been left in the lurch."

The appropriations in HF80 include:

  • $59 million to the Public Facilities Authority;
  • $13 million to the Department of Natural Resources for projects in Elk River, Redwood-Cottonwood Rivers Control Area and South St. Paul, along with asset preservation;
  • $10.3 million to the Pollution Control Agency for the Anoka County landfill;
  • $10 million to the Board of Water and Soil Resources for Reinvest in Minnesota program; and
  • $10 million to the Metropolitan Council for regional parks.

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