Recap of the 2024 Minnesota Legislative Session

June 14, 2024
By Jacob Ringstad, Graduate Engineer, WSB

The end of the 2024 Minnesota legislative session in St. Paul brought opportunities for communities across Minnesota. With changes to regulations and new grant investment opportunities, now is the time for communities to dive into better understanding of what happened this session and what changes and opportunities resulted from this year’s session. I was able to discuss with Anne Finn, Director of the League of Minnesota Cities’ Intergovernmental Relations, about the impact on cities for this session.

Budgets and Bonding

This year, lawmakers did not pass a capital investment bill. Many communities see a lack of a bonding bill as detrimental to asset preservation and local infrastructure. This failed bonding bill contained building asset preservation, money to remove lead and PFAs from local water systems, and $40 million dedicated to local communities. Additionally, the bonding bill failing to pass this year likely means there will be a large appetite for a bill in the 2025 legislative session. Communities with future construction projects and bonding needs must stay up-to-date and plan for what is to come in 2025. Anne encourages these cities to continue meeting with their representatives about the importance of these funds in your communities.

Efforts to Improve our Transportation

The 2024 session saw an additional $11.35 million investment in the Small Cities Assistance Program. These funds will be evenly distributed to cities with populations under 5,000 starting July 1st. These funds can be used to improve city assets and even include an option to use the money to pay debt service on bonds. One new policy opportunity Anne mentioned was state guidelines were enacted for establishing pedestrian malls. This new law will help to guide communities looking to expand pedestrian transportation and safety in high density areas.

A Focus on Environment

The 2024 legislative session saw massive investment from the Environment and Natural Resources Budget and Policy bill. An additional $46 million will be invested into programs dedicated to protecting Minnesota’s water, air, soil and wildlife. Anne specifically mentioned, “New grant programs created for community tree planting with $8 million for statewide use and another $3 million dedicated to the seven-county metro area.” To maximize use of this new funding, construction projects that can highlight sustainability should keep a close watch on these new investments and be ready as soon as the grants become available.

Expanding Housing Infrastructure Grant Program

Alongside new funding, counties are now able to take advantage of opportunities previously limited to cities. Under the 2024 legislative session, the Greater Minnesota Housing Infrastructure Grant Program was expanded to include county-managed construction projects, creating new opportunities, such as the development of housing, streets, water supply systems, sewers, utilities and more.

How WSB Can Help?

The 2024 session included several new state investments and policy changes that impact communities. With WSB, communities can feel secure with a talented team of experts who will help walk you through finding funding, applying for grants and ensuring every opportunity is on the table for your projects.

Jacob Ringstad has 2 years of experience in the city engineering. He has worked with city and township clients out of our Minneapolis and Saint Cloud offices to assist in improvement planning, design, and construction. Alongside his engineering work, Jacob has joined professional associations that involve the legislative affairs of the industry.

[email protected] | 6120.214.0962

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