Capital Investment bill introduced first day - ROCORI Trail, Northstar extension included
By Minn. Rep. Larry Hosch
The 2010 session began quickly Thursday, Feb. 4, with the Minnesota House of Representatives rolling out a Capital Investment bill that reflects the sense of urgency to focus on legislation that will stimulate Minnesota's job market and get people back to work. State Rep. Larry Hosch (DFL - St. Joseph) said it's unprecedented for the Legislature to move this quickly on a Capital Investment bill and is optimistic the legislature can work together to get the bill to the governor's desk soon this session.
"What I hear from my constituents overwhelmingly is to focus on jobs and focus on the economy," said Hosch, an Assistant House Majority Leader. "We are moving quicker than ever before with a Capital Investment bill that matches the sense of urgency of our current economic climate."
Hosch said the Capital Investment bill in the House balances investments throughout the state and includes several proposals to strengthen Central Minnesota. The House bill includes $800,000 in funding for Phase 1 of the ROCORI trail which will connect the Glacial Lakes State Trail. In addition, $1 million is included to leverage federal funds to begin the design and engineering to extend the Northstar Commuter Rail to St. Cloud.
"I have worked with local officials on these projects for a long time and am pleased they are in the bill," said Hosch. "As the legislation moves forward, I will work to see these projects through into the final bill that will hopefully reach the governor's desk soon."
Along with jobs initiatives, thelegislature must close a $1.2 billion budget shortfall brought on by a 70 percent drop in state revenue. Combined with the $6.4 billion deficit from last year makes this the largest deficit for any budget cycle in state history. Hosch said it's important for the legislature to set priorities and minimize cuts that will make it harder for Minnesota families to recover from the recession.
"We have to set priorities and make difficult cuts, but we need to do so with an eye on the Minnesotans who have been hit hard by this recession," said Hosch. "There are signs our economy is finally headed in the right direction and our budget should point us in that direction."
Rep. Hosch encourages constituents to contact throughout the legislative session.
"Please call, e-mail, or write me anytime this session," said Hosch. "And if you are visiting the State Capitol, make sure to call and visit. Your ideas and input are the best way I can advocate for our communities in St. Paul."