The Governor’s Jobs & Local Projects Plan
In the House Capital Investment Committee this week, we heard several important bills that either focused on Minnesota’s passenger rails and ports, or Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines and ways for our children to safely travel to and from school. Our week started with Governor Walz announcing his 2021 Jobs and Local Projects Plan - totaling at slightly over $518 million.
Governor Walz’s proposal puts Minnesota on the right track when it comes to creating new jobs, investing in our communities, and keeping a focus on inclusion and equity. Notably, the Governor’s proposal funds $100 million in Housing Infrastructure bonds to address Minnesota’s housing crisis, chips away at asset preservation, and includes $150 million in redevelopment appropriation bonds, which would be instrumental in helping small businesses rebuild after last summer’s civil unrest.
With low interest rates, Minnesota’s AAA bond rating, and a great need to help our state bounce back from the economic impact of COVID-19, there’s no reason Minnesota shouldn’t have a robust jobs and local projects bill this year. We’ll be reviewing the Governor’s plan next week in the Capital Investment Committee.
Yesterday, I presented HF 646 in the House Transportation Finance & Policy Committee. This bill requires the Metropolitan Council to deploy low emission buses in areas with poor air quality. According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), motor vehicle emissions can contribute to health problems including respiratory issues, heart conditions, and an elevated risk of cancer.
While buses have generally been viewed as a more environmentally friendly transportation option due to the fact that they can help reduce the number of cars on the road by carrying a large number of people, they still contribute to emissions that impact air quality, particularly in cities. This bill will help communities with high health disparities like ours - communities that have been identified as areas of concentrated poverty where 50% or more of the residents are people of color and are at risk for both asthma and heart conditions. I’m bringing this bill forward because I do not want the state to systematically fail in addressing the health concerns of communities who have been impacted by air pollution as it relates to transportation.
Happy Tyler Johnson Day!
Today, the Minneapolis School Board has declared February 26, 2021, as Tyler Johnson Day. Tyler is a great role model and proud Minneapolis Public Schools alumnus and Northsider, who also recently became a Super Bowl champion as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers team!