Today I want to talk the failure of the Minnesota legislature this past session. I believe that the divided government should be referred to going forward as “Government of Ineffectiveness” or “Do nothing Legislature”. I can assure you that if I or my team came to work every day and collected a paycheck but never got our work completed, we would not last long. That is precisely what divided government gets away with session after session. What used to be unacceptable has started to become the norm “No Deal – Potential Special Session”. Let us not forget special sessions mean taxpayers have to pay the elected officials more money to come back and do what they should have to begin with.
This year’s inaction will negatively impact the construction industry in several ways, but I want to talk about the potential loss of funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act – the federal funding bill. States are required to have a plan and allocation of the match portion to receive the money. The Legislature failed to get this done. The specific breakdown of the infrastructure funding as reported by CERES is:
More than $6 billion of the $7.3 billion headed to Minnesota through the law will require the state to put up a small portion of the funding to access it. This includes $4.5 billion for roads, which requires a $113 million per year match from the state; $236 million for transit, which requires $17 million per year from the state; $668 million for clean water, which requires $29 million from the state; and $68 million for electric vehicle charging, which requires $13.6 million from the state. The infrastructure law also created several new federal grant programs to fund projects that are tied up in legislation that did not pass before the session concluded, restricting officials from applying for the grants.
Other states are moving forward with plans for matching and applying for grants. Minnesota won’t be able to proceed due to the politics from both sides. There is plenty of blame to go around. Sticking points come down to where funding should come from. There is also a talking point that MnDOT can just move money around and everything will be fine. Assuming that could happen, it is not good business and affects other projects that those funds are supposed to cover.
Industry groups support a special session to approve transportation and infrastructure funding agreements. Please subscribe to the AGC Action Alert to stay up to date and if you agree with the action, easily connect with your representatives. I for one would like to see legislators return to the business of representing the people of Minnesota and not their party politics or election year antics.