On Tuesday, the Capital Investment Conference Committee met and discussed using federal funds to prioritize the Public Facilities Authority grants. These PFA grants are essential to cities in need of infrastructure projects. Senator Gene Dornink (R-Hayfield) has led the charge on funding critical water infrastructure projects in his district.
“Water infrastructure is a top priority for me and many others, including the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities,” Dornink said Tuesday. “After having been in line for water projects for far too long, cities like Austin, Wells, and Albert Lea simply cannot wait any longer. The need for clean, safe water is great and we need to act. We cannot hang Greater Minnesota out to dry like this.”
Senator Dornink is laying the groundwork for his bill to be included in a bonding bill, allocating $100 million to the PFA. While this would be solid footing to get the most needed projects started, the Democrat-controlled House and Governor Walz have provided significantly less – House offers $15 million and Walz offers $0.
“It is disappointing to say the least that the House and Governor are not recognizing these severe needs simply because it involves rural Minnesota. As soon as I stepped foot in the Capitol as a Senator, I knew that these projects needed an advocate and that is exactly what I will do. I will advocate for these critical needs and make sure they’re not ignored any longer,” Dornink said.
Looking to the future of Minnesota’s water infrastructure, the projects are overwhelming. The estimated amount needed to keep up with wastewater infrastructure needs statewide is $4.12 billion over the next 20 years. For drinking water infrastructure statewide, the Legislature will need to spend $7 billion over the same time. Beginning funding and updating now will ensure these needs are met.
PFA grants will fund critical water infrastructure projects across the state, which currently has more than 300 cities waiting on their projects. Jumpstarting these projects wherever possible will build up Minnesota quickly and more efficiently.