Minnesota State Lawmakers Must Act Now or Risk Losing Billions in Federal Infrastructure Funds
June 3, 2022 /3BL Media/ - With Minnesota at severe risk of losing out on billions of federal dollars from the federal Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act (IIJA), the corporate sustainability organization Ceres is calling on Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz to convene a special legislative session to access those needed funds.
“The Minnesota business community has long advocated for increased infrastructure spending to grow the state’s economy and address some of the greatest challenges facing transportation, energy, water, and broadband systems. The bipartisan infrastructure law finally gives Minnesota the chance to address these needs — but only if the state maximizes this historic opportunity,” said Deana Dennis, senior manager, state policy, Ceres. “Companies and investors want to see these federal funds put to work to harness both the short- and long-term economic benefits of investment — whether it’s repairing crumbling roads, reducing energy waste with efficiency upgrades, or building out the electric vehicle charging network of the future. State lawmakers owe it to their constituents to hold a special session to approve the state funds required to unlock these federal investments and build a resilient, sustainable, and competitive economy across Minnesota.”
State lawmakers left Saint Paul at the end of this year’s legislative session without authorizing the state funds required to unlock much larger sums of federal funding from IIJA, which was passed by Congress and signed by President Biden last year. Failing to approve these funds will limit the state’s access to the federal money — delaying important projects and potentially missing a key opportunity to rebuild Minnesota’s roads, improve its public transit, install an electric vehicle charging network, clean the state’s water, and advance other critical initiatives.
More than $6 billion of the $7.3 billion headed to Minnesota through the law will require the state to put up a small portion of the funding to access it. This includes $4.5 billion for roads, which requires a $113 million per year match from the state; $236 million for transit, which requires $17 million per year from the state; $668 million for clean water, which requires $29 million from the state; and $68 million for electric vehicle charging, which requires $13.6 million from the state. The infrastructure law also created several new federal grant programs to fund projects that are tied up in legislation that did not pass before the session concluded, restricting officials from applying for the grants.
Businesses across the country championed IIJA to improve the nation’s aging roads, bridges, rails, ports, and energy systems, while also building new facilities for the future, such as broadband connections, energy transmission lines, and electric vehicle charging.
Now companies are working to ensure the funds are used by states in the most effective way possible. In May, for example, dozens of trade groups, companies, and other energy industry stakeholders—including several with operations or employees in Minnesota such as Ameresco, IKEA, and Franklin Energy— wrote to governors in several states urging them to use funding from the law and other federal sources to advance energy efficiency initiatives. These initiatives help companies and residents save money, improve public health outcomes, create jobs, and reduce pollution that hurts communities and fuels the climate crisis.
Ceres is a nonprofit organization working with the most influential capital market leaders to solve the world’s greatest sustainability challenges. Through our powerful networks and global collaborations of investors, companies and nonprofits, we drive action and inspire equitable market-based and policy solutions throughout the economy to build a just and sustainable future. For more information, visit ceres.org and follow @CeresNews.