Right balance needed with public works bill

The 50th anniversary of Southwest Minnesota State University reminds us that some of the infrastructure on the campus is at least 50 years old. Infrastructure will deteriorate as time goes along, especially with the harsh weather conditions of southwest Minnesota.

So Gov. Mark Dayton’s proposal for $1.5 billion public works bonding bill should not be surprising. He called the proposal an investment in the state’s future. About a third of the projects are on campuses of the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State system. Most what is being proposed are worthwhile projects. But what it all boils down to is prioritization and affordability.

Of course, he will have to sell that dollar amount to a Republican Legislature. Rep. Chris Swedzinski, R-Ghent, said Republicans also recognize the needs.

“My guess is that it ($1.5 billion) will not be the final number,” Swedzinski told the Independent. He said he believes the final number will be around $800 million to $900 million and Republicans will look at the general needs across the state, which includes roads, bridges and water.

That’s the right approach, but don’t let politics take away from the need for real balance. Over time, problems only get larger.

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