Mayor Larson: “It was a big year for the city of Duluth at the state legislature”

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DULUTH, MN– Duluth’s mayor is talking about a good year for Duluth during the Minnesota Legislative Session. Major projects narrowly made it into the states tax bill, securing millions of dollars in funding for infrastructure.

Those projects include $100 million of public investment into Duluth’s medical district, expanding upon Essentia Health and St. Lukes Hospitals.

Also, secures 25 years of funding for Mayor Emily Larson’s half-percent sales tax increase to fund street improvements across the city. These projects are expected to have major impacts on the city for decades to come.

It was a really big year for the city of Duluth at the state legislature. Duluth Mayor Emily Larson says, “the tax bill this year is a really big success for the city of Duluth.”

Provisions to the states tax bill included funding for major projects including Mayor Larson’s proposed tax that was first introduced in 2017. “We deserve streets that are reliable, that are fixed, that aren’t frustrating, that aren’t damaging our cars,” says the Mayor.

Duluth voters overwhelmingly approved the tax but it was shot down in the legislature in 2018.  However, advocates for the tax went into this session with more momentum than ever.

Mayor Larson says. “This is 25 years, a quarter century of ongoing, sustainable, reliable streets funding. This gives us 10 million dollars to work with every year.”

And tax-payers could start reaping the benefits within the next year. “We’ll start seeing the benefit of that investment next spring when we have the time to collect and then move forward and plan.”

Also in the bill, the proposed $100 million to spur economic development as part of  “Vision Northland” project that would drastically expand Duluth’s medical district.

“We have a billion dollars of private investment going in from a combination of Essentia and St. Lukes.”
Funding secured in St. Paul would benefit the public such as parking and improvements to the energy district.  says Larson.” This $100 million is transformational investment from the state of Minnesota into this community.”

Larson says we will start seeing construction on the hospital sites very soon. Essentia and St. Lukes are currently going through a permitting process. As for the public projects, construction won’t begin for another 18 months, but being that it’s a public investment the community will have a chance to weigh in on exactly what public projects the money will fund.

“There’s planning, there’s public process, there’s public meetings, there’s really a lot that comes with that.”

The tax bill is expected to be signed by Governor Tim Walz this week.

 

Jessie Slater

Jessie Slater

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