As many of us enjoy the beautiful Minnesota summer with tranquil days on the lake and picturesque sunsets, it's easy to forget the long days of the legislative session. Before adjourning in late May, state legislators could not agree on a capital investment bill or finalize several funding packages known as omnibus bills.
This year, unfinished legislation meant leaving billions of dollars of federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funding on the table. This historic bill, commonly referred to as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, passed last fall and is the largest federal infrastructure spending package in a half-century. It will distribute critical investments to states over the next five years. Minnesota is estimated to receive $7.3 billion from the bill, but nearly 85% of this funding won’t make it to Minnesota without a state match. With a special session looking highly unlikely, most matching funds won’t arrive until after the Legislature passes necessary spending in 2023.
Joint federal and state investments could fund critical infrastructure projects, including restoring roads and bridges, expanding transportation options, protecting water, and more. Minnesota could use federal funding to invest in modernizing our electric grid and accelerating our transition to 100% clean energy. Another large portion of these funds could build electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure across the state. Additional investments could provide Minnesota with $668 million to ensure safe and clean drinking water by improving water infrastructure and removing lead service lines. But without matching funds from the state legislature, Minnesota will lose out on many of these investments.
Minnesota faces more challenges every year as our climate continues to change and communities across the state wait for much-needed funding. Failing to secure matching funds before federal deadlines begin this fall will mean some projects will be delayed another year, while others may never be funded. Next session, newly elected legislators will have an opportunity to secure these federal funds and influence how they are allocated. Conservation Minnesota will continue to monitor the state’s funding opportunities and advocate for investments aligned with our clean energy and conservation goals.