Thursday Senate Republicans passed a government financing bill that included bonding, tax, and budget provisions for the entire state. The bill provided $200 million in tax relief for small businesses and farmers, $1 billion for projects regarding transportation, sewer, and water, and $160 million for housing.

Senate District 39, represented by Senator Karin Housley (R-St. Mary’s Point), profits immensely from this year’s capital investments. Most notably, $3 million has been set aside for the Minnesota Hwy 36 and Manning interchange. Construction will commence on the extremely congested and dangerous highway portion in 2021. A partial cloverleaf design has been chosen by transportation officials as the best option for future commercial expansion and safe traffic in the area. Other fixes will address current issues, including relocating the frontage road and extending the trail east of Manning across a new bridge over Hwy 36.

“I am elated to have so many district projects getting much-needed attention and financial backing this year,” said Sen. Housley. “It was only through working together with our community businesses, health care providers and elected officials that we got this done. After months of hard work by many, several of our road improvements and wastewater infrastructure projects will be one step closer to the finish line. This is how government is supposed to work! I’m absolutely committed to the betterment of our area and creating future jobs – this bill provides expansion in both areas. This is a win for everyone in our community, and it will not be the last.”

Road work in the bill doesn’t stop with the Manning interchange. The realignment of 60th street and Norell Avenue in Oak Park Heights will receive $790 thousand from this year’s bonding plan. Construction will relieve public safety concerns, accessibility issues, stormwater management, and more. The City of Oak Park Heights plans to match the state’s contribution.

The Minnesota prison systems received several financial nods this year. In Stillwater, The Minnesota Correctional Facility will receive $2.6 million for fire suppression system renovations in cells, common areas, and control areas throughout the buildings. This undertaking will bring the prison up to modern fire standards and increase safety for inmates and employees.

Wastewater infrastructure improvements in suburban and Greater MN are a major portion of the bonding bill, generally. The Forest Lake wastewater project is included and will receive an investment of $1.7 million. The area was in desperate need of updates to their old and inefficient system. The project’s completion, with help from capital investment, will support a healthy current and future community.

In the line of public safety, the Chisago County portion of County Highway 8 project is set to receive $8 million. Travel and freight transportation has increased on the highway in recent years, bringing with it a spike in crashes and fatalities. The bonding funds from this year’s bill will tremendously increase convenience and safety by hurrying the slated construction. Funding for the project’s completion will benefit families, daily commuters, and commerce in the entire county.

Finally, the bill contains a change to tax law with Section 179 federal conformity, which has been a Senate Republican priority for years. It is targeted towards small business owners and farmers and allows them to deduct large equipment purchases. The tax provision is a look towards easing burdens on those who have been sustained major losses in recent years, especially during the pandemic.

“Investment now means economic vitality in the future,” concluded Sen. Housley. “Despite an arduous process to get here, I’m happy with our area’s portion of the bonding bill. Our community has a great strategy for jobs and bright prospects to look forward to!”

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