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Letter: Investment package contains many area funding provisions

Gov. Pawlenty made the right choice by line-item vetoing 52 provisions out of the 2008 Capital Investment legislation rather than vetoing the bill in its entirety.

The bill, which totaled $925 million when it reached the Governor's desk, now totals $717 million. Pawlenty had previously said the proposal needed to be at $825 million or less as a more expensive plan would jeopardize the state's bond rating.

The governor analyzed this proposal for several days and ultimately decided to allow the projects that truly needed financial investment to be signed into law. While he refused to allow any local-specific projects to be included, I am pleased that several broader proposals from our area made the final cut.

Here is a partial listing of District 22B projects that are included in the 2008 Capital Investment law:

  • $450,000 for the design and renovation of the Minnesota West Community and Technical College field house in Worthington.
  • $1 million to support ag biosciences facilities in Worthington.
  • More than $5 million for the Lewis and Clark Rural Water System project.
  • $1 million to acquire land for twelve scientific and natural protection projects, including the Des Moines River Forest Prairie Complex in Jackson County.
  • $800,000 to remediate contaminated soil and redevelop the former Campbell Soup facility in Worthington.
  • $2 million to renovate or remove publicly owned dams, including the Windom Dam in Cottonwood County.

I worked together with Sen. Jim Vickerman to ensure that the overall direction of the Windom Dam portion of the project would be decided by local residents.

We wanted this request fully funded so locals, and not state government, could determine the future for the Windom Dam. Whether the residents decide they want to replace, repair, remove, or restore the structure, we wanted to make sure they had the funding needed to support their decision.

Now that the overall price tag has been trimmed by Gov. Pawlenty, this legislation now meets the construction needs of our state while maintaining a degree of fiscal responsibility.