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Ward offers, later withdraws amendments for area projects

Rep. John Ward, DFL – Brainerd, offered and then later withdrew two amendments to the bonding bill in the House Capital Investment Committee. The bonding bill is a bill used to fund infrastructure projects across the state, financed through low-interest state bonds. 

Rep. Ward’s amendments proposed $9 million to fund a Brainerd Veterans Nursing Home, and $1 million to fund a Cuyuna Lakes State Trail.

“Both of these projects would have direct, positive impacts for the people in my district and the surrounding area,” Rep. Ward said. “Our veterans in the area deserve a nursing home facility so they can be properly cared for as they grow old, and can live out their lives with dignity. The Cuyuna Lakes State Trail will be an extremely important part of the recreational network of trails connecting our lakes in central Minnesota.”

Rep. Ward initially offered both projects as individual bills and had requested committee hearings on each bill. No hearings were scheduled.

“I offered these bills as amendments to a greater bonding bill because I needed to ensure the needs of my district were being heard by the majority,” Rep. Ward said. “I was not given any time to present the bills before a committee, so I decided to present them as amendments.”

The bonding bill being discussed was intended for flood-prevention projects and had a limit of $45 million. Rep. Ward’s proposed projects would have put the bill over that limit, so he withdrew his amendments. Rep. Larry Howes (R- Walker), the chair of the Capital Investment Committee, indicated that the projects proposed by Rep. Ward would be included in a broader bonding bill in the future.

“Rep. Howes is a good, trustworthy person, and I take him at his word that these projects will find their way into a future bonding bill,” Rep. Ward added. “These projects would be very beneficial to District 12A, and I’m hopeful we can get the job done.”

The Associated Press reported that a $28 million proposal for flood relief projects from Austin to Roseau was being considered Tuesday by the committee. The bill, from Howes, would pay a share of local projects in up to 19 communities to control future floods and prevent damage to homes, infrastructure and crops.