Letter: Bonding bill must include funding for water infrastructure improvements

Published 6:30 am Wednesday, February 24, 2021

It’s good to see that the governor is elevating the need to pass a bonding bill this session, but his proposal misses an opportunity to invest in critical infrastructure needs in Greater Minnesota. The biggest omission in the governor’s plan is that it fails to mention water infrastructure, which remains one the most pressing needs across Greater Minnesota.

The 2020 bonding bill included record funding for state grant and loan programs that help cities pay for costly wastewater, drinking water and stormwater projects, but the need continues to grow. Dozens of cities currently have projects in the works to repair aging facilities or replace outdated equipment, and more than 300 cities are expected to undergo major water infrastructure improvements over the next 20 years. The Legislature must continue to make significant investments in water infrastructure to keep up with this growing need.

As the governor and legislators discuss a bonding bill this session, I urge them to address other key Greater Minnesota priorities as well. The pandemic has amplified the need for more child care centers as well as increased investment in economic development programs will help communities and families recover from the financial fallout.

With low interest rates and a long list of needs, the Legislature should seize this opportunity to pass a bonding bill that invests in critical infrastructure and aids in Minnesota’s economic recovery.

Greg Zylka

President,

Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities

Mayor, Little Falls