Southeastern Minnesota bonding bill projects

(ABC 6 News) – The fate of the bonding bill in the Minnesota legislature lies in the senate after the house passed it a few weeks ago. Many projects could benefit from that bill including here in southeastern Minnesota.

If the bonding bill gets passed the Root River State Trail could see a new addition. The trail would get expanded to Carmona.

The land is purchased but the project still needs the 2 million dollars from the bonding bill to make the new branch of the trail. Representative Greg Davids says the Root River Trail is an essential part of the communities in the area.

“Well, the trails have been proven to be very effective as far as tourism. We’ve seen that in southeastern Minnesota as well as the entire state,” said Rep. Davids.

Updates to the trail were on last year’s bonding bill that didn’t pass. Rep. Davids says he was happy that this goes around because the bill had bipartisan support in the house, and he says it’s time the Senate passes this bill too.

“Stranger things have happened, but I still think we can get this done. We need to get this done. It’s our constitutional duty to get this done,” said Rep. Davids.

But he adds the trail is just one small part of the bill. “A major part of the bonding bill is infrastructure. I mean there are communities in Minnesota where you can’t drink the tap water,” said Rep. Davids.

And there’s a chance Austin could become one of those communities if this bill doesn’t get pass.

“The city of Austin is looking to replace its 100-year-old water treatment plant and the cost of that is going to be able 110 million,” said Mayor Steve King.

The city asked for roughly 21 million dollars last year, but in the plan that just passed the House, they will only be getting 14 and a half million.

Mayor Steve King says the need for a new plant has never been greater.

“Thank goodness for the staff out there that continues to hold this thing together and run pretty routine maintenance on it, but it’s a matter of time. I mean there’s no doubt that something that is 100 years old and is used at that capacity there’s failure. There’s failure every day I’m sure but they can patch it together. We just don’t want the catastrophic failure that could be coming if we don’t replace it soon,” said Mayor King.

Mayor king says it’s up to the legislators to work together to get this bill passed.

Other projects in southeastern Minnesota could benefit from the bill. The Rochester International Airport, they are requesting 10 million dollars to improve runways and other things at the airport to make travel in and out of RST smoother.

Right now, the bonding bill is currently in committee in the Senate and will again need bipartisan support if it’s going to pass.