State lawmakers tour potential infrastructure projects to decide where investment should be applied

Updated: September 04, 2019 06:31 PM

Minnesota state lawmakers are in the process of touring potential infrastructure projects in an effort to decide which ones will get funding in next year's bonding bill. 


Members of the House Capital Investments Committee visited about 10 sites on Wednesday. 

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS was there as they toured the National Sports Center in Blaine. The non-profit sports facility is requesting $13.3-million in its 2020 budget for a number of improvements, including finishing construction on some athletic fields. 

Rep. Mary Murphy, who chairs the committee, said it's important to see the potential projects firsthand so they can determine their priorities next session. 

"We don't really know what the project is until we see the people that need it and we reflect on how it fits with communities we're investing our money in," Murphy explained. 

Another project lawmakers explored Wednesday was the Greater Twin Cities Regional Public Safety Training Facility. The proposed center would give police, firefighters, public works crews and emergency managers a centralized place to train. 

Fire Chief Charles Smith of the Spring Lake Park-Blaine-Mounds View Fire Department said there is a big need in the north metro for this type of specialized training center. 

"The better we train, the harder we train and the better facilities that we have, the better we will be at delivering our services to the citizens out there when they need us," Smith explained. 

In total, the state got more than $5 billion in requests to be considered for the 2020 bonding bill. Murphy said they could decide to spend up to $3.5 billion. 

The committee will continue touring sites across the state over the coming months before starting to make decisions when the next session starts in February.

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Alex Jokich

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