Archived Story

Our Opinion: Time for the public to get involved

Published 10:15am Wednesday, May 7, 2014

While the Senate and House bonding bills have both proved promising for Austin, it’s time for legislators and the Austin public to follow through as the 2014 Legislative Session enters its final stretch.

The Senate bonding bill released earlier this week includes several funding sources that could be key for Austin and Mower County, but now is the vital time for the public to speak about their views on these projects.

The Senate bill includes language to clear the way for the previously approved Hormel Institute expansion to start, a pot of money for Austin’s flood mitigation project to utilize, another pool of money for road projects (potentially the replacement of Austin’s Oakland Place Southeast Bridge), funds for updating “indoor air quality improvements” required in ice arenas like Austin’s Riverside Arena, and trail dollars that could go toward the final stretch of the Shooting Star Trail.

While it’s disappointing the Senate bill didn’t include money specifically for the trail, there’s reason to be hopeful — but more importantly vocal.

Once the Senate passes its bill, the Senate and House will negotiate and eventually compromise on a final bill. This is the vital stretch, and it’s time for residents to contact Sen. Dan Sparks and Rep. Jeanne Poppe to speak out about projects.

The Herald supports the $2.5 million to finish the Shooting Star Trail from Rose Creek to Austin to finish a project decades in the making, and we hope dollars are specifically written into the final language of the bill — like the House version —and not vying for a pot of dollars with other communities.

The negotiations between the Senate and House are likely to include cuts, so now is the time to get vocal. The projects that move forward are often the ones with the most outspoken local support.

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