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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Chris Swedzinski (R)

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Update from the House

Friday, June 1, 2018

Dear Neighbor,

Significant projects within District 16A and the surrounding region are among those signed into law Wednesday as part of a capital investment package featuring $825 million in general obligation bonds to fund construction projects throughout the state.

I am pleased with the finished product, which includes a $3.1 million appropriation for the Minnesota Emergency Response & Industrial Training Center in Marshall. Funding for a Lake Redwood dredging project I also support is provided. From a regional standpoint, Montevideo will receive a share of $32 million appropriated for the construction of three new veterans homes – pending federal match funding.

I’m thankful the governor signed this bill. There are good projects for our area and good funding for infrastructure necessities such as roads and bridges. The key is that we stuck to our priorities so we can maintain the properties and facilities we own, while also respecting the taxpayers. That’s what made this a good bill that received 113 votes in the House.

With funding such as trunk highway bonds included, the bill provides an additional $416 million for transportation.

The transportation funding provided in this bonding bill follows last year’s largest investment in road and bridge infrastructure in state history, with billions more for transportation in the next 10 years without an increase in the gas tax or license tab fees. The 2017 bonding bill alone provided $254.4 million for transportation projects, while other sources of funding such as a provision directing existing taxes on purchases of auto parts to roads and bridges also gained enactment.

Once the dust settles on this biennium, it’s going to be very clear that we have had historic success in providing support for roads and bridges. We all agree that we want better roads and I am pleased we are going the extra mile to make that happen.

New program delivers disaster assistance to Lac qui Parle

Lac qui Parle County is benefiting from a fund the Legislature established in 2014 to improve the delivery of local assistance when disasters strike.

In this case, the State Disaster Assistance Contingency Account will allow Lac qui Parle quicker access to $51,177 in state emergency funds in the wake of flooding which occurred in April and May and caused damage to local infrastructure.

In the old days, we would have had to wait for the governor to call a special session or for the federal government to step in and provide emergency funding. This emergency fund we set up was designed to allow for a quicker transfusion of funds so we can get relief aid on the ground sooner. The recovery process is difficult enough without delays in the arrival of necessary aid, so we have greatly reduced that turnaround time. This funding for Lac Qui Parle is a good example of how this program should work and I am pleased to see these results.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce’s Consumer Services Center is available to help with questions, concerns or complaints following disasters. The CSC can help people understand their rights, work with insurers to settle a claim and help Minnesotans make informed decisions after a flood or storm damages their home, auto or property. Call (800) 657-3602 or email for more information.

Marshall County in northwestern Minnesota is receiving $141,289 from the disaster account.

Have a good weekend,