The bonding bill signed by Governor Mark Dayton Wednesday includes about $200 million in funding for local projects, including one that will keep home and business owners in Mankato and North Mankato from having to buy flood insurance when new floodplain maps are drawn up next year.
North Mankato DFL State Representative Clark Johnson championed the effort to secure $830,000 in funding for the flood levee project on Highway 169 near Highway 14. His colleague, Mankato State Representative Jack Considine, said it wasn’t without controversy. “Frankly, Clark was catching some grief about that on the House floor, sort of coming in with this specialized request,” he explained.
MnDOT also urged the governor’s office to line-item veto the project over earmarking concerns.
Considine said, “I did feel the need to get up and say that this wasn’t something that Mankato was actually requesting, or that Clark was asking for on behalf of the city of Mankato. This was the Army Corps of Engineers coming in and saying this had to be done.”
In March, the Mankato City Council agreed to fund about $1.6 million toward the project, which is expected to begin later this summer. While the levee is in Mankato, many of the affected properties are in North Mankato. Initially, North Mankato officials said they would not pay a portion of the project cost, but last week Mayor Mark Dehen told KTOE that they would sit down with officials across the river to discuss it further.