Saint Paul, MN – Joel Smith, President and Business Manager of LIUNA Minnesota and North Dakota released the following statement after the Minnesota Management and Budget Office announced a $17.5 billion surplus for the next two years:
“With Minnesota's economy expanding and flourishing, now is the time for our state leaders to invest to fix, catch up and keep up with our water and transportation infrastructure needs. There is an increasing threat to the health, safety, and prosperity of our people from our aging infrastructure. LIUNA members are ready to put their skills to work to ensure all Minnesotans have access to safe, clean water and reliable multimodal transportation options.”
Minnesota's crumbling infrastructure threatens our safety. In a recent report, the American Society of Civil Engineers graded our roads a 'D+', bridges a 'C', and transit a 'C-'. Our existing state and county highways, city streets, town roads and bridges need no less than $18 billion in funding over the next 20 years just to maintain their current systems. Similarly, there is a significant need for water infrastructure across Minnesota. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) estimate $12.3 billion in future wastewater and drinking water infrastructure investment needs. MDH estimates $500 million is needed to replace 100,000 lead service lines by 2032.