Last year’s bipartisan infrastructure bill, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will funnel a historic $1.2 trillion into states—about $6.8 billion of which is headed to Minnesota. These funds will go toward much-needed investments in electric transportation infrastructure, electric transit, weatherization assistance, energy efficiency, power and grid—all of which play a major role in our climate future and as we seek energy independence. However, after the initial wave of investments, Minnesota and all states have the power to unlock even more funds.
Some of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds—as much as 40 percent—will come in the form of competitive grants over the next five years. These grants will require a percent match from applying states and local governments. Minnesota’s record $9.3 billion budget surplus gives us a unique opportunity to maximize infrastructure investments in our state.
If Minnesota leaders don’t set aside some of our surplus to secure Infrastructure Law match funding, we risk losing out on this historic opportunity. Instead, we can reduce this matching grant funding barrier for state agencies and local governments by allocating just a small portion of Minnesota’s unprecedented $9.3 billion surplus toward the matching funds requirement. This small investment now will unlock access to millions in additional federal funding for our state.
Let’s use electric public transit as an example—just one of many funding opportunities in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Minnesota will get over $800 million in federal funding for public transportation, some of which could be used towards electric buses. Minnesotan transit agencies and bus operators could also apply for funds from the additional $2.5 billion electric school bus grant program and $2.5 billion clean transit grant program. These grants, however, will not cover 100 percent of an electric bus purchase, and so will require matching funds from the state or other entity to fully leverage. Opportunities like this will be available across many of the funding areas in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
But we need your help! We can’t let politics stand in the way of this historic opportunity to bring additional infrastructure funds to Minnesota. In an election year like 2022, many lawmakers will try to avoid spending any of our $9.3 billion surplus. And while it’s a larger conversation around how much of this surplus should go toward tax rebates, our education system, health and human services, and more, setting aside a small portion of it to unlock even greater federal funds should be a bipartisan priority.
Minnesotans need to reach out to their legislators and urge them to set aside money from the surplus so Minnesota’s municipalities, counties, and state agencies can apply for additional federal funding.