Governor Wants Road and Bridge Projects Fast Tracked
St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - Governor Mark Dayton today called on the Republican controlled state legislature to approve a stand-alone bill authorizing over two dozen road and bridge projects that have been held up by the ongoing stalemate over long term transportation funding.
Dayton, who along with State Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle appeared at a news conference at the State Capitol, noted $105 million in federal funding has already been appropriated for the 28 projects and there is concern that further delays could endanger the federal dollars. He is calling on the legislature to take action on the issue by the end of the month.
Most of the projects are located outside of the Twin Cities area. While none of them are located in Olmsted County, two of the projects on the list are in Winona County, including the replacement of the pedestrian bridge over Highway 14 next to the St. Mary’s University campus. The original bridge had to be torn out in 2014 after a semi-truck crashed into it and caused major structural damage.
Governor Dayton also used the news conference to criticize the “reinsurance” bills approved by the House and Senate. The measures create state-subsidized reinsurance funds that could tapped by health insurance companies facing huge claims associated with the care of high-risk policyholders.
Supporters say that would allow those insurers to hold down premiums, but the governor says there is no guarantee that would happen and he was would rather see the money used for education programs and providing health care for low income residents.