Gov. Dayton’s requests will benefit state

Published 9:38 am Friday, January 22, 2016

Gov. Mark Dayton’s proposal for $1.4 billion in infrastructure investments statewide offers plenty to be excited about.

While creating an estimated 39,900 Minnesota jobs, the proposed projects tackle a variety of important state issues, including water quality, rail safety and higher education. They also support economic development and statewide transportation needs.

Locally, Rochester’s most critical request made the list. By proposing $5 million to help expand Rochester International Airport’s customs facility, the governor recognizes the important role the facility plays and the need to meet U.S. Department of Homeland Security requirements.

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But that’s just one example of the projects that are key to the state’s future. Many others aim to improve other public spaces to make sure they remain usable for state residents in years to come.

With a list of $3.7 billion in requests whittled down to less than half, we know there are projects we would like to see added to eventual legislation. However, the $1.4 billion proposal, which is expected to produce $2 billion in projects when local and federal matching funds are added, is a good starting point.

We know some lawmakers and others will call for further cuts, just as we know others will seek approval of pet projects. We expect discussions of such projects will be robust.

As Dayton noted, legislators must put aside the quest for political sound bites during those conversations to concentrate on making choices that address current and future needs.

To help them do that, local residents will need to support the projects they feel bring the greatest benefit to the region and the state. Our lawmakers hopefully will go to bat for such projects, but they will need local supporters.

As we’ve said, we’re excited about the possibilities on the current list — and we hope our fellow Southeast Minnesota residents are as well.


— Rochester Post Bulletin, Jan. 16

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