To the Editor:
The past few weeks have been very difficult ones for the state of Minnesota. From the catastrophic collapse of the I-35 bridge, the extreme drought conditions in northern Minnesota, and the recent flooding in southeastern Minnesota, Minnesotans have been challenged to respond, and now recover, from the devastating events.
Because both the I35 bridge collapse and the six counties that were flooded have been declared federal emergencies, they will receive federal funding to help with recovery efforts. While this is certainly beneficial, the federal funds fall well short of covering all of the costs of clean-up, rebuilding and long-term recovery. The responsibility, and obligation, now turns to state leaders.
As a member of the House Capital Investment Committee, which has the responsibility to approve money for capital projects and infrastructure, I had the opportunity to tour the flood-ravaged counties. The devastation is overwhelming. Hundreds of homes have been lost or damaged, entire businesses are gone, and roads and bridges are washed out and impassable. Residents are struggling to move forward, and they are in desperate need of help – their lives, and their livelihood, are hanging in the balance.
At times such as these, it is only right that Minnesotans look to their state and national government for leadership and support. A special session is vitally necessary to address the dire needs of southeastern Minnesota, as well as the recovery efforts of the I35 bridge. All of us have been inspired by the resiliency and strength of our fellow Minnesotans as they face these disasters. As elected leaders, we need to demonstrate our commitment to helping them recover by passing comprehensive disaster relief legislation as quickly as possible.
Rep. Lyndon Carlson represents Crystal, Robbinsdale, and Golden Valley in the Minnesota House and Chairs the House Finance Committee.