Supporters of two area projects will make the trek to St. Paul today in hopes of convincing members of the House Capital Investment Committee not to cancel funding for the projects.
Committee Chair Larry Howes, R-Walker, has proposed a bill that would strip away $3.65 million in bonding money given to Olmsted County in 2008 to build a public safety training center. HIs bill would also cancel $26 million for intercity passenger rail projects, which includes $2 million in funding for Olmsted County to study passenger rail.
Those planning to testify in support of these projecst include Olmsted County Sheriff Dave Mueller, former Olmsted County Sheriff Steve Borchardt and Olmsted County Board Chair Paul Wilson.
The plan to take back the training center money comes as two Rochester Republicans are backing a measure that would scale-back the project allowing it to move ahaead. Sen. Dave Senjem and Rep. Mike Benson are sponsoring a bill that would shave $700,000 off the cost of the project for the state. It would also fix a language error that prevented the project from advancing. When originally passed, the bill was worded in such a way that the land donated by the county for the project did not count towards its share of the project cost.
Senjem, chair of the Senate Capital Investment Committee, said he has received a copy of Howes' bill and is still deciding whether or not he will author some version of the bill. He does believe that the safety center should get the funding. He said the rail money may be a more difficult sell.
Here is a link to Howes' bill which would cancel a total of $60 million in funding for projects.