ST. PAUL – The legislative interim has been anything but quiet for State Representative Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska) this summer – not that he's complaining.
"The even-numbered years typically are the years where large capital investment bills are crafted, and the legislation ends up being one of the main highlights of that session," Torkelson said. "As chairman of the House Capital Investment Committee, I have the good fortune of being able to visit many of the potential bonding projects and learn about their need for state investment, and that process has been taking place over the past two months."
Capital investment bills are used to help fund needed construction projects throughout Minnesota. Torkelson has already visited three of the four corners of our state, touring projects in southwestern, southeastern, and northwestern Minnesota. The northeastern Minnesota tour takes place in late September, where Torkelson and members of his committee will visit bridges, a fish hatchery, correction centers and the Duluth Port, among other projects.
Torkelson said the total dollar amount requested for statewide bonding projects greatly exceeds the amount that will eventually be spent, meaning the committee will face tough decisions moving forward.
"Much like a coach who is forced to cut players before announcing his final roster, we will be forced to pick the best of the best among projects that are all worthwhile," Torkelson said. "That's why it's so important to see the bonding requests firsthand, and I've enjoyed touring our state to learn more about them."
Torkelson expects the committee to begin the capital investment project prioritization to begin in early 2016. In addition, Torkelson said he has also been attending numerous meetings as a member of the Legislative –Citizen Commission on Legislative Resources (LCCMR) and as a member of the Legislative Water Commission during this legislative off-season.