Nov 10, 2021 - News

What the federal infrastructure package means for Minnesota

Illustration of the state of MN, with scaffolding.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Billions of dollars in federal funding for bridges, roads, broadband and more will flow to Minnesota under the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that cleared Congress last week.

Driving the news: The legislation, hailed by President Biden as a "once-in-a-generation investment," passed the House Friday night and now goes to the president's desk.

  • State and labor leaders who supported the bill's passage, including U.S. Reps. Angie Craig and Dean Phillips, outlined what to expect at a Tuesday news conference.

Details: Minnesota is estimated to net more than $6 billion in federal funding over the coming years, including:

  • $4.5 billion for highways.
  • $818 million for public transportation. to improve our public transportation
  • $680 million for water infrastructure.
  • $302 million for bridge replacement and repairs 
  • $100 million for broadband internet.
  • $20 million for wildfire prevention.
  • $17 million for cybersecurity.

What they're saying: Supporters say the infusion of federal cash will provide much-needed upgrades to the state's infrastructure and create or sustain jobs through the various projects.

  • "All you have to do is drive on the road [or] the highway, travel through an airport, try to get goods through a port right now, and you will know that we have fallen behind," said Phillips, who voted yes Friday alongside fellow Democrats Craig and Rep. Betty McCollum.

Between the lines: MnDOT commissioner Margaret Anderson Kelliher said the money will allow the agency to move forward with projects that had been put on hold due to funding, citing the Twin Ports Interchange Project in Duluth as one example.

  • Some cash will also flow directly to cities and counties.

The other side: All four GOP members of Minnesota's congressional delegation, as well as DFL U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, voted no.

  • Republicans have criticized the package as too expensive and far-reaching. GOP Rep. Jim Hagedorn, who represents Southern Minnesota, called it a "radical tax-and-spending spree" in a statement.
  • Omar has said her no vote was a response to the decision to move forward before a deal to vote on a separate spending plan that could include funding for child care, climate change mitigation and paid family leave, among other issues.

What's next: Much of the cash headed to state agencies will need legislative sign off for specific projects and uses, Kelliher said.

  • Legislators will also have to approve some state funds to match the federal dollars, she added.

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