U.S. Senate approves $700 million for Minnesota transportation projects

On a 74-22 vote, the U.S. Senate today approved a two year, $109 billion surface transportation bill that would provide Minnesota with $700 million for transportation and infrastructure projects.

With one in 10 bridges in Minnesota deemed to be structurally deficient, the funds would allow for the repair of 4,000 bridges statewide, in addition to being used for a variety of other transportation-improvement purposes.

The U.S. House hasn't yet passed a surface transportation bill.

In a statement, Sen. Amy Klobuchar said "this legislation paves the way for critical investments in Minnesota's roads and bridges, giving a much-needed boost to local economies and helping make our roads safer for families."

Sen. Al Franken, meanwhile, emphasized the role the funding will play in creating and sustaining jobs. It's estimated that the $109 billion will result in employment for three million Americans.

"This transportation jobs bill will put millions of people to work across the country in good-paying jobs, especially Minnesotans in the construction industry who have been on the bench for far too long," Franken said in a statement.

Senate approval comes just 17 days before current federal transportation funding expires. A Washington Post report suggests the chances of the House passing a companion bill before the end of March are slim, nonetheless it's good to know our senators are working effectively to make sure Minnesota gets a fair slice of the transportation funding pie.

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