Sen. Smith visits Rochester, tours different infrastructure sites

(ABC 6 News) – U.S. Senator Tina Smith was in Rochester Friday to learn about a variety of projects.

"As I’ve learned from all these conversations with people around Minnesota, this is a fundamental safety issue," said Senator Smith as she started the day near the deadly intersection at Highway 44 and Highway 14.

The Senator heard from law enforcement and other community members who are asking for more than $21 million to make the roadway safer. Including things like adding better off and on-ramps, and retaining walls. If funding is approved, construction could start as early as 2024.

It was then on to the Olmsted County Waste to Energy Facility. The county is asking for $12.5 million to add a materials recovery facility. While on the topic of energy, the Senator touched on the rising gas prices."

"The quicker we move to clean power, the quicker we’re going to be independent of the vagaries of dictators like Vladimir Putin and Saudis for literally having an impact on the energy crisis that people are paying right here in Olmsted County, today."

The Senator also toured a new facility for mental health care where she learned about the help people can receive outside of emergency rooms. Giving them a safe place to go, all hours of the day.

"Southeast Regional Crisis Center is providing a door that people can walk through when they’re having a mental health crisis. There are way too many communities in Minnesota and the country that don’t have that door. So they are absolutely providing a model."

The end of the day finished with a roundtable to talk about workforce development. They heard about the barriers women and people of color in the workforce are facing and how they can help.

The Senator said she will bring back what she learned to Washington to talk about different solutions with her colleagues.