Langseth Seeks More Flood Aid

Minnesota communities facing the flooding threats need more state assistance, the top state senator on public works projects said.

Sen. Keith Langseth, who represents Red River Valley communities fighting a second flood crest this week, said Tuesday a public works spending package under negotiation should include nearly double the flood aid he earlier proposed.

The Senate’s public works package included $26 million for flood mitigation in communities around the state, but during a meeting with House public works negotiators Langseth said the Legislature should boost flood aid this year to $50 million.

The House public works bill included $12.7 million for flood-prevention projects. Gov. Tim Pawlenty said flood projects deserve more than either the House or Senate originally proposed.

An infusion of federal economic stimulus funds and work completed on other flood-mitigation projects means more state-borrowed funds are necessary, Langseth said.

“I think we stand a fair chance of getting $50 million and that would get an awful lot of things done in the Red River Valley that are uncompleted at this time,” the Glyndon DFLer said.

A House-Senate conference committee is negotiating differences between bills passed in recent weeks.