ST. PAUL – A $6 million appropriation for the Minnesota Emergency Response & Industrial Training Center in Marshall is included in a capital investment package the Minnesota House approved Monday.
State Rep. Chris Swedzinski, R-Ghent, said the MERIT Center funding would help conduct upgrades at its facility for training of law enforcement, public safety, and industrial safety.
“Public safety is a chief responsibility of government and the MERIT Center does an outstanding job of providing training for the people who serve us in those selfless roles,” Swedzinski said. “I am proud to support their cause and am pleased to see this funding included in the House bill.”
The overall package features $825 million in general obligation bonds. More than two-thirds of the bonding is dedicated to bricks-and-mortar projects, such as roads and bridges, water infrastructure and statewide asset preservation. The bill also includes a component to use excess reserves from the Vikings stadium account to fund construction of veterans homes in Bemidji, Montevideo and Preston.
The bonding portion of the bill includes:
$364 million for asset preservation such as state-owned buildings
$120 million for road and transportation infrastructure
$153 million for water and conservation projects
$188 million for “other” projects, such as:
$25 million for school safety
$25 million for mental health centers
With funding such as trunk highway bonds included, the bill provides an additional $254 million for transportation, another $10 million for water/conservation and $127 million in other funding for a total of $1.2 billion.
The bill provides $26 million in funding for the construction of veterans homes in Preston, Bemidji, and Montevideo through the same funding mechanism proposed in the House’s omnibus state government finance package. The reserve account for the Vikings stadium is running an excess, expected to reach $58 million by the end of the current biennium and grow to $120.2 million at the end of next biennium. This bill would allocate a portion of that funding for constructing veterans homes in each of the aforementioned cities.