Highway 93

Highway 93 was not a welcoming sight last March. The highway disappeared beneath the Minnesota River as flood gates kept the river from getting into the city. Despite push from residents, when Governor Tim Walz released his Capital Budget recommendations last week, it did not include any money to raise Highway 93 out of the flood plain. (Photo by Rachel Miller)

Earlier this week, Gov. Tim Walz released his Capital Budget recommendations, in advance of the new legislative session, which began Tuesday.

Absent from the governor’s budget was any funding to raise Highway 93 into Henderson, which is prone to flooding. This past spring, flooding in Henderson closed Highways 19, 93 and County Road 6 for the better part of two months, and those road closures cost area residents and businesses a whopping $93,000 a day, Mayor Paul Menne previously shared with members of the Senate Capital Investment Committee, who visited Henderson on Oct. 22, 2019.

However, Sen. Scott Newman, who represents all of Sibley, McLeod and Meeker counties, as well as a small portion of Wright County, wants residents to know that just because the governor’s budget did not include funding to fix Highway 93 does not mean it will not happen.

The governor’s budget recommendations is just the beginning of a three-month process. Right now, the House is beginning to put together a bonding bill, and Newman said he expects the House to approve a bill that will then be forwarded to the Senate by early May.

Once the House approves a bill, the Senate reviews it. If the Senate agrees with everything in the bill, they would approve it and send to the governor for final approval. If the Senate has some different funding priorities, they can make changes, and send the altered bill back to the House to review.

Bonding bills must originate in the House, Newman said, and require approval by both the House and the Senate. Once a bill is agreed upon and approved by the Senate, it goes to the governor’s desk, and the governor has the power to approve the bill as is, or make line-item changes.

Newman said the Henderson flood problem has been discussed both before and after the Senate Capital Investment Committee came to town.

“To the extent I have any influence at all, Henderson will be in the bonding bill in the Senate,” Newman said.

Newman’s advice for Henderson residents is to contact the office of the governor and “impress on the governor the importance of this project from a flood mitigation standpoint.”

“If we can get the governor on board, then I think we get this thing done,” Newman said. “But if the governor opposes us, that really does create a problem.”

The governor’s office can be reached at 651-201-3400.

Sen. Newman: 651-296-4131 or sen.scott.newman@senate.mn

Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen: 651-296-4229 or rep.glenn.gruenhagen@house.mn

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