“It’s not uncommon for a project like this to take five, six or seven cycles before it gets approved,” said Dahms, adding the logistical side of the proposal is together; now what is needed is the funding.
The second year of the biennium for the Minnesota legislature primarily focuses on capital investment funding, which is also known as bonding. That bill was one of many passed during the 2014 legislative session, and in the end the $1 billion allocation includes things local legislators are happy about and some not so much. Locally the major project which had been up for discussion was an $8 million allocation for reclamation of Lake Red-wood. In the end, that bill did not make the final cut. That, said District 17 Sen. Gary Dahms and District 17B Rep. Paul Torkelson, does not mean the proposal is dead. “I have carried this bill for four years, and every year there seems to be more interest in it,” said Dahms. Dahms and Torkelson were in Redwood Falls Thursday afternoon to talk about the legislative session during a town meeting at the public library. Dahms said during the coming months he plans to meet with local leaders to talk about the proposal as they look toward the next bonding bill cycle. One of the concerns which has been raised about the reclamation project, said Dahms, is a lack of matching funds. Many of the bonding bill projects have matching funds, and he said an $8 million request without matching funds is going to face some stiff resistance. Torkelson said the plan is to keep bringing up the proposal, and he is confident the proposal is going to get funded.
“It’s not uncommon for a project like this to take five, six or seven cycles before it gets approved,” said Dahms, adding the logistical side of the proposal is together; now what is needed is the funding. In the end, Torkelson said he voted against the bonding bill, because he thought it was just too expensive. “There was a lot of money for metro projects,” he said, adding he was disappointed there was not any funding set aside for the Area II program. He was, however, glad to see funding for the Lewis and Clark water project. “I feel the bonding bill should focus on infrastructure,” said Torkelson, adding he thought there were far too many projects that did not fit the intent of bonding funding. Dahms, however, said he voted for the bill, adding he thought there were a lot of good things in it for the area. Among the good things was funding for the Minnesota State Colleges and Univer-sities program to help make facilities improvements as well as funding for the sports facility in Marshall. He also said funding allocated for economic development was a good addition, as rural areas of the state seem to do well in receiving those grant dollars for projects. Dahms also said he appreciated the funding for transportation improvements. Dahms and Torkelson both voted against the minimum wage bill, adding they would have supported a bill moving toward federal conformity, but they said $9.50 was too much of a jump. They believe it is going to lead to loss of a significant number of jobs, especially in businesses, such as grocery stores and restaurants.