RED WING — Those who watched Gov. Tim Walz at a press conference Tuesday may have seen a familiar face: Red Wing Mayor Sean Dowse.
Dowse told the Republican Eagle that he was asked to participate in the press conference that focused on rebuilding Minnesota’s economy. Dowse added that he assumed numerous mayors from around the state would speak at the event but upon arriving in St. Paul, he realized that he was the only mayor tapped to participate.
Other speakers included Walz, Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, members of the building and construction trades and Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board Superintendent Al Bangoura.
Walz is proposing a $2.2 billion bonding bill. According to a press release from the state of Minnesota, the meeting highlighted the “Local Jobs and Projects Plan” created by Walz and Flanagan to “jumpstart Minnesota’s economy and complete critical infrastructure projects across the state.”
During the press conference Dowse spoke about Red Wing’s bonding requests.
“The need for a large bonding bill is personal for me as mayor of Red Wing. Our city is seeking $10.6 million in bonding for an important rail crossing project that is vital to protecting thousands of area residents and visitors each day,” Dowse said. “Nearby Prairie Island is home to the tribal lands of the Prairie Island Indian Community, Treasure Island Resort and Casino, Xcel’s nuclear plant and the Army Corp of Engineers Lock and Dam. There is only one public access point to the island, Sturgeon Lake Road. That means ambulances and other first responders must wait for trains to go by, losing precious time when there is an emergency.”
Rep. Barb Haley, R-Red Wing, told the Republican Eagle in a statement:
“I think most lawmakers would agree that passing a reasonably priced bonding bill that addresses statewide construction needs should happen this session. And considering our House district has several projects under consideration — Sturgeon Lake Road rail grade separation, Old West Main Street infrastructure and railroad quiet zone, Cannon Valley Trail, Lake City waterfront, and Lake Byllesby Dam repairs — I am very interested in seeing a proposal reach the House floor. But we also need to be responsible with our debt service, especially since we are likely to face a multi-billion dollar deficit next session. Borrowing $2.2 billion in this time of economic uncertainty is not responsible.”