SAINT PAUL – Late yesterday, the Minnesota House passed a Jobs & Local Projects and Critical Economic Development bill with investments in infrastructure and economic stimulus to help communities bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other items, the legislation contains $1.879 billion toward public assets such as higher education institutions, clean water infrastructure, roads and bridges, transit, parks, trails, and funding for underserved communities.
“Democrats in the Legislature have been working for a bipartisan and regionally-balanced local jobs and projects bill for the entire year,” said Rep. Xiong. “Thanks to the leadership and hard work of DFLers, equity for communities of color is being recognized as a core priority in state bonding. Our historically underserved communities need state resources not only get through the pandemic, but to come out stronger on the other side of it.”
Representative Xiong worked with House Capital Investment Vice-Chair Fue Lee to secure $30 million in the package dedicated to equity, which includes funding for projects important to people of color and Indigenous communities. Of note, the Hmong American Farmers’ Association will receive $ 2 million in equity bond funding for the first time. The bill also contains a new policy requiring diversity hiring goals and equal pay for state bond-funded projects.
Projects within Rep. Xiong’s St. Paul legislative district include the Kellogg Street Bridge, Wakan Tipi Center and Metro State University. Elsewhere in St. Paul, the bill funds the Como Park Zoo, the Humanities Center, the Playwrights’ Center, Victoria Theatre, the Hmong Plaza, and the Minnesota Museum of American Art.
The bill also contains $116 million in bonding for public housing rehabilitation and new housing infrastructure. A full list of projects included in the bill can be accessed here and the legislation itself can be accessed here.