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Highway 316 funding bill heard by state House committee

Hastings Public Works Director Nick Egger gave testimony to the Minnesota House Capital Investment Committee regarding the Highway 316 improvement project. The committee was hearing a bill sponsored by Rep. Tony Jurgens, R-Cottage Grove, that would help secure more funding for the project. Submitted photo

Legislation that would help secure $1 million in funding for the Highway 316 project was heard by the Minnesota House Capital Investment Committee on Wednesday, March 27.

The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Tony Jurgens, R-Cottage Grove, would help fill the projected $1.5-$2.5 million gap in funding to have the project completed. Through the bill, $1 million would be received in general obligation bonds.

Hastings Public Works Director Nick Egger gave a testimony at the hearing.

"We've gone through an extensive process with MnDOT and getting public comments," Egger said. "Overwhelmingly, safety is still a concern."

One of the critical aspects of the projects to address safety, Egger said, is the trails for pedestrians and bicyclists that will be added on either side of the highway from the Civic Arena to Tuttle Drive. The bill being presented by Jurgens would help fund that part of the project.

"It may not cover everything but it would make a profound difference in it. We are still trying to get support from multiple resources," Egger said.

It is unknown when the committee will make decisions because there may not be another bonding bill this year, Jurgens said. What the committee is hearing now could be in consideration for next year's bill.

Jurgens has been working on multiple bills this session to help secure additional funding for the improvement project. State Sen. Karla Bigham, DFL-Cottage Grove, has also introduced legislation to the Minnesota Senate to get funding.

"We will continue with the transportation bill, as well as the funding through the Legacy bill for the trail portion of the project, in addition to keeping the bill in the investment committee should there be a bonding bill this session or next," Jurgens added.