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  • Asking the Experts: Moorhead’s Legislative Landscape with Mayor Judd

  • Asking the Experts: Moorhead’s Legislative Landscape with Mayor Judd

    Asking the Experts: Moorhead’s Legislative Landscape with Mayor Judd

    Minnesota’s fifth special legislative session concluded in mid-October with the passage of the bonding bill. We learned from Moorhead’s Mayor Johnathan Judd what projects will benefit the citizens of Moorhead. Tune in on January 14 for our State of the Cities event where mayor Judd will be joined by his colleagues leading the cities of Fargo, West Fargo, Dilworth and Horace.

    What are some of the key projects that are included in the Bonding Bill? What other legislation has positively benefited Moorhead?
    When the Minnesota legislature convened for their fifth special session of 2020, passing a capital investment, bonding bill to finance capital improvements was a key priority. While unable to achieve this goal during its regular session, when concluded on October 15, 2020, the legislature had produced and passed the largest capital investment bill in the state’s history at $1.9 billion.

    Moorhead fared extremely well in the funding allocations, and I want to specifically thank our District 4 legislators, Senator Kent Eken and Representatives Ben Lien and Paul Marquart for their advocacy and leadership. Here are the significant projects that will benefit Moorhead and Clay County:

    • $62 million for a railroad underpass at 11th Street in Moorhead.
      • The final design work on the underpass will begin in 2021 with construction likely to begin in 2023. This will be a major transportation project and will be the largest in Moorhead’s history, topping the $48 million awarded for the Southeast Main | 20th Street | 21st Street underpass, which is currently under construction on the East side of Moorhead.
    • $17 million for statewide flood hazard mitigation.
      • The funds dedicated for statewide efforts are likely to include approximately $2.8 million for Moorhead flood projects, which are compatible with the FM Diversion. The funds directed to Moorhead will be used for strategic acquisitions needed for mitigation projects.
    • $7.5 million for a new Clay County solid waste transfer station and problem materials management facility.
      • This project will provide for the safer and more efficient handling of solid waste in Moorhead and Clay County. The project is on deck for spring of 2021.
    • $5.345 million for the Moorhead Readiness Center (Armory) for the Minnesota National Guard.

    Additionally, an important pandemic response resources was the distribution of the federal CARES Act which was passed through the legislature to our local units of government in June. We are extremely grateful for this resource and are proud that Moorhead and Clay County successfully implemented grant programs for local businesses affected by COVID-19. At the time of print, more than 200 Moorhead businesses received grants for COVID-19 impacts.

    As the 2021 Minnesota Legislative Session approaches, what are some of Moorhead’s top priorities?
    Looking ahead, the primary focus of the 2021 Minnesota Legislative Session will be to set the biennial budget, which includes addressing the projected budget shortfall. Cities across Minnesota, including Moorhead, will work to counter any threats that may exist to local government aid. Moorhead will pay particular attention to aspects of the Border City program, which is financed through state appropriations.

    Moorhead residents elected two new City Council members, First Ward Council Member Matt Gilbertson and Second Ward Council Member Laura Caroon, who will officially join the council in January. We look forward to including them as the City Council establishes Moorhead’s 2021 legislative agenda.

    We appreciate The Chamber and community interest in supporting legislative policies that will benefit our community and businesses.
    Got a question for a legislator, public official or other expert? Let us know what’s keeping you up at night and we just might help get you answers. Email mrademacher@fmwfchamber.com to submit a suggestion.

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