By Rep. Kristin Bahner

Guest Columnist

Earlier this month, the House Capital Investment Division, generally referred to as the ‘Bonding’ Committee, kicked off their statewide tour to visit local communities requesting state funding for infrastructure improvements. The first tour took place in the Northwestern region of Minnesota and also included Maple Grove. I was pleased to welcome Chair Mary Murphy and committee members to our community.

One of our local projects under consideration is Highway 610, a vital east-west link for the northern suburbs, which has been poised to become a major corridor in the Twin Cities metro since 1973. Maple Grove City Manager Heidi Nelson, who has been a strong advocate of the project, joined us on the tour and shared with committee members the benefits, not only for economic development and shovel-ready job creation, but for hospital patients needing quick access in emergency situations. Minnesotans deserve a safe and reliable highway that will allow them to get to work, school, or to stay connected to family and friends.

During the 2019 session, I introduced legislation that would complete the connection between Highway 610 and County Road 30 and to link 610 with eastbound Interstate 94. The Bonding Committee had a firsthand look at Highway 610, and I made a pitch for them to consider incorporating this important project for our community in the final 2020 bonding bill.

The Bonding Committee’s next stop was the North Metro Regional Public Safety Training Center. Since the facility opened in 2013, it’s been not only a local training asset for Maple Grove law enforcement, but serves an important role for a number of county, state, and federal law enforcement entities including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). The training center also serves sixteen other public safety entities. Due to the volume of use of this much sought-after facility, updates are needed to meet the demand. This project seeks funds to modernize training capabilities to include simulation training, de-escalation and crisis intervention techniques, and additional classroom space. Delivering these needed, improved tools to our law enforcement officers will help them be prepared for the day to day challenges they face while on the job, and also helps keep our communities safer.

Once regional public infrastructure projects are approved through passage of a bonding bill, all of the public infrastructure improvements are financed through state bonds. Like any necessary home maintenance project, the longer it’s put off, the more expensive it is to repair. With a strong economy and low interest rates, it’s time for us to act now while it makes economic sense to fulfill the dire needs, not only of Maple Grove, but of communities across the state and region.

I’m grateful to House Bonding Chair Murphy for providing lawmakers from every region of the state an opportunity to partner with local residents with the goal of crafting an equitable bill that strengthens communities and creates good paying, shovel ready construction jobs. As we look to the 2020 session set to begin in February, I’ll continue to fight for passage of a robust, bipartisan public works and construction package for infrastructure improvements in our community and throughout Minnesota.

Representative Kristin Bahner represents House District 34B, which includes the cities of Maple Grove and Osseo. Rep. Bahner encourages her constituents to share input and ideas with her at the Capitol anytime at 651-296-5502 or at rep.kristin.bahner@house.mn.

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