Klobuchar meets with local county representatives to talk infrastructure needs
Senator Klobuchar met with representatives from Nobles, Cottonwood, Watonwan, and Brown County to get updates on their communities and hear about their infrastructure needs.
WORTHINGTON — Sen. Amy Klobuchar met with local county commissioners from southwest Minnesota on Friday afternoon to discuss infrastructure needs and receive updates on the communities they serve.
Klobuchar was a vocal supporter of the bipartisan infrastructure law enacted in November, which devotes federal resources to fund projects across the nation, including several of the senator’s key priorities in Minnesota. Those priorities include improving roads and rail systems, as well as building high-speed broadband infrastructure and repairing and replacing bridges and highways.
“I advocate for funding for you in two ways,” said Klobuchar. “One is the funding that will come through the state…and then the second way will be direct grants that, especially for some of the smaller towns…that you'll be getting from the Department of Transportation.”
Among the key issues discussed during the meeting were water and road infrastructure, broadband access and workforce shortages. As part of the infrastructure bill, $65 billion has been allocated for broadband assistance, which Klobuchar stated will mean “hundreds of million of dollars for Minnesota." The bill also includes funding to build out broadband to reach schools, libraries, healthcare centers.
“We've got 42 million Americans including 144,000 rural Minnesotans without high speed (internet),” Klobuchar said, addressing the commissioners. “And it's a problem that I know you have in your counties.”
Klobuchar also stated that Minnesota would receive at least $45 billion for highways and that the infrastructure bill included $55 billion for water infrastructure.
“That just gives you a sense of the kind of money we're talking about, (and) the direct impact that it's going to have on your area of the state,” Klobuchar stated.
Nobles County Commissioner Donald Linssen spoke to the senator on many of those same issues, including water infrastructure and broadband, which are a particular concern in rural Nobles County, as well as Cottonwood County.
Linssen also brought up issues with cell phone reception near the Minnesota-Iowa border and the need for more support for emergency medical services like ambulances while also suggesting that workforce shortages could be helped by continued efforts to support immigrants and migrant workers.
“I think our immigration system needs to be made easier and quicker for people to get citizenship,” Linssen said. “…I think that’s another big issue."