Good news for Minnesota infrastructure: The big federal bill recently signed by President Biden will pump $6.8 billion in much-needed construction dollars into Minnesota highways, bridges, mass transit, water systems and other infrastructure over a period of years.

And not a moment too soon: Minnesota got an overall grade of C on its most recent infrastructure report card from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

That may not sound so bad, but that overall grade includes a D-plus on its roads, Cs or C-minuses on its bridges, transit, dams, drinking water and energy, and a B only in aviation.

In Minnesota there are 661 bridges and over 4,986 miles of highway in poor condition, according to a fact sheet from the White House. On average, each driver pays $543 per year in costs due to driving on roads in need of repair.

Here’s the breakdown for how federal infrastructure money will be spent in Minnesota: $4.5 million for highways, $302 million for bridges, $818 million for public transit, $680 million for water, and $502 million for other infrastructure improvements.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live
Newsletter signup for email alerts

The plan is to repair and rebuild roads and bridges with a focus on climate change mitigation, resilience, equity, and safety for all users, including cyclists and pedestrians.

Here are some other highlights of the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act:

  • Broadband: Minnesota will get about $100 million to widen broadband coverage across the state, including coverage for the 83,000, or so, Minnesotans who now lack it. And more than a million Minnesotans will be eligible for the Affordability Connectivity Benefit, which will help low-income families afford internet access.
  • Electric vehicle chargers: The law invests $7.5 billion to build out the first-ever national network of electric vehicle chargers in the United States. Minnesota will receive $68 million towards that effort, and can also apply for another $2.5 billion in grant funding.
  • Energy grid: Climate change, cyber attacks, and extreme weather events are getting worse: From 2010 to 2020, Minnesota saw 11 extreme weather events, costing the state up to $10 billion in damages. Now the state will get $20 million over five years to protect against wildfires and $17 million to protect against cyberattacks. Minnesotans will also benefit from the bill’s historic $3.5 billion national investment in weatherization, which will reduce energy costs for families.
  • Amtrak: Detroit Lakes is a stop for the Empire Builder passenger train service, and so will also benefit from big improvements in store for Amtrak. According to the White House, U.S. passenger rail lags behind the rest of the world in reliability, speed, and coverage. China already has 22,000 miles of high-speed rail, and is planning to double that by 2035. The legislation positions rail to play a central role in America’s transportation and economic future, investing $66 billion in additional rail funding to eliminate the Amtrak maintenance backlog, modernize the Northeast Corridor, and bring world-class rail service to areas outside the northeast and mid-Atlantic.

So cheers to Congress for passing the infrastructure bill, which includes a lot more than what we’ve detailed here, including improvements to ports, drinking water, and clean energy systems. It’s a once-in-a-generation investment that will keep goods, services and information flowing smoothly in Minnesota, and the rest of the nation, over the long haul.