House of Representative’s Capital Investment Committee tours RCTC, Lewiston for bonding requests

House of Representative’s Capital Investment Committee tours RCTC, Lewiston for bonding requests

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(ABC 6 News) – Members of the Minnesota House Capital Investment Committee continued their tour across Southeast Minnesota and on Wednesday, they spent time in Rochester and Lewiston.

Five weeks across 80 cities, and hundreds of pitches on where money can go to improve the state of Minnesota. From community colleges, to first responders in rural towns. Everyone is making their case to have a slice from a $2.6 billion dollar bonding bill in 2024.

The committee heard pitches on needed funding for public safety and building renovations. The roof at RCTC’s Heintz Center is nearly 60 years old, and in need of replacement. That’s just one of the things the college is asking the state to pitch in and help fund.

“The priority for us is the renovation project,” said Shayne Jesson, RCTC Facilities Project Manger. “So that’s actually our geo-bound request that we’ve been allocated funding for for design and also will be requesting funding for the 2024 bond cycle for construction.”

RCTC is asking for $1.3 million from the state for their renovations and renewable energy projects.

Fue Lee is the chair of the house capital investment committee. He says hearing and seeing firsthand the impact bonding dollars can make, helps in the decision-making process.

“Just to hear about the financial contributions for the local community and how we can partner with the local communities as we consider this potential fund,” Lee said.

The city of Lewiston is asking for $3 million to fund the new facility for first responder vehicles and equipment.

“Our current project called for a facility that would house all city services, putting it all under one roof and making it financially sustainable for the taxpayer,” said Matt Essig, Lewiston Ambulance Director.

Representative Gene Pelowski serves on the committee and represents Lewiston in the house. He’s very familiar with the struggles Lewiston has had with fire and EMS services.

“They have no space to house anything other than their trucks and their equipment. At a time when we know we need assistance, last year they had over 420 calls,” Pelowski said. “So this facility is a critically needed facility for Winona County. This is what we need to have in communities across the state. We’ve neglected this for too long, this is critical infrastructure.”

As the committee continues to tour the state, they’ll take what they learn back to the house this upcoming legislative session. Currently the committee is looking to spend about $2.6 billion in bonding projects next year, but they have more than $7 billion worth of requests for the 2024 state bonding bill.