Earlier this afternoon, the House passed on a 132-0 vote $17 million in flood disaster relief funding to offset costs for flood cleanup efforts after the severe flooding last summer. Steele and Waseca Counties were among the more than 40 counties and tribal governments who will benefit from this bill.
The bill we voted on was Senate File 1, which was nearly identical to House File 164 which I co-authored, but allowed the bill to go directly to the Governor without first going to conference committee. Rather than spending additional taxpayer money, much of the bill's funding comes from canceling unspent payments from previous flood relief efforts. Just $2.2 million of the bill's funding is new money from the state. This is a common-sense approach that saves taxpayers millions of dollars.
It's great to see such quick action and unanimous support for flood relief efforts, and for the legislature to continue its tradition of putting politics aside to pass disaster relief.
Last week I introduced two pieces of legislation of great importance to our community & Greater Minnesota. HF286, requests $160 million in trunk highway bonding for the completion of the Owatonna portion of Highway 14.
Another bill, HF282 is a direct appropriation of $200 million from the existing trunk highway fund into the Corridors of Commerce program for each of the next two years. The Corridors of Commerce Program has previously funded small portions of the Highway 14 Corridor expansion, and other Greater Minnesota transportation projects across the state.
I'm proud to have secured bipartisan support for HF282. Corridors of Commerce is a program that unites Republicans and Democrats because it invests money directly in roads and bridges, a priority for both sides. Bolstering this fund and continuing to focus our efforts on road and bridge funding rather than expensive transit projects will benefit the largest number of people and improve our infrastructure with these targeted projects across the state in Greater Minnesota as well as the Metro.
Unfortunately, the likelihood of getting the full amount of the Highway 14 funding included in HF282 is unlikely giving the great need for funding for a variety of projects around the state, but I will continue to work with legislators who represent communities along the Highway 14 Corridor, and be an advocate for moving the project forward.
Whether it's all at once or piece by piece thanks to the Corridors of Commerce project, Highway 14 expansion will continue to move forward with bipartisan support because legislators recognize the safety and economic benefits it brings.
On Friday it was great to meet with those who came to Saint Paul for the 2015 March for Life rally put on by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life. There is a bipartisan, pro-life majority in the House that will continue to work to protect the rights of the unborn.
As always, please don't hesitate to contact me at 651-296-5368 or by email at email@example.com. I look forward to hearing from you and always welcome your comments, questions, and concerns.
Have a great week,
State Representative, District 24A