Saint Paul, MN – Today, Joel Smith, President and Business Manager of LIUNA Minnesota and North Dakota responded to the forecasted state budget surplus of $7.7 billion released by Minnesota Management and Budget.
“Minnesota finally has the resources to make critical infrastructure improvements that communities have needed for years. Now is the time for state leaders to rebuild and upgrade our crumbling infrastructure while creating thousands of family-sustaining jobs for working people like LIUNA members. No excuses.
Federal funding from President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure and Jobs Act will dedicate just shy of $700 million to improve Minnesota’s water infrastructure and ensure clean, safe drinking water. However, the historic levels of new funding are not enough to remove an estimated 100,000 lead water service lines across the state, which will cost nearly $500 million. According to a recent state review, more than $11 billion in wastewater and drinking water upgrades are needed statewide.
“State leaders should seize this opportunity to make significant progress to address our water infrastructure problems and to fully-fund local matching dollars for our roads, bridges and transit,” Smith said. “We need our state lawmakers to dedicate as much funding as possible from the surplus to make our drinking water, stormwater and wastewater infrastructure safe for all Minnesotans.”