Bonding Bill Gets Hearing In House Committee

Road, flood project and civic center backers told the House Capitol Investment Committee Wednesday that they need money Gov. Mark Dayton proposes in his public works budget.

“Our roads are rough, aged and falling apart,” Clay County Engineer David Overbo told the committee.

The roads are deteriorating in part because the county is a large sugar beet producer and nearby rock quarries, he said. He said there are no funds available for more than 50 miles of “regionally significant roads.”

Overbo and Marshall County Engineer Lon Aune testified on behalf of including county road money in the public works bill, which the state would fund by selling bonds.

Aune used an Oslo-area road as an example of his county’s needs. It often is flooded, which forces people to take a boat to cars parked on the other side of the flooded land or drive 70 miles around the water, he said.

Former Rep. Kevin Goodno, a Moorhead lobbyist, urged the committee to approve $12 million to finish a $50 million home-removal project to “allow for faster, more efficient and less costly response” during floods.

Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, said Moorhead and adjoining Oakport Township are much better protected against floods than two years ago, due in part to state bonding funds.

The committee also heard pleas to fund several civic centers and other projects, but no decision on the so-called bonding bill is expected for some time. Republicans in control of the Legislature say they do not want a bonding bill this year other than for emergencies such as floods.