Senator Klobuchar and Smith visit Austin to announce $25 million grant

Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith are in southeast Minnesota Friday touring places receiving some federal grant funding.
Published: Sep. 16, 2022 at 12:07 PM CDT
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AUSTIN, Minn. (KTTC) – Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith are in southeast Minnesota Friday touring places receiving some federal grant funding, including several sites on 1-90 in Austin.

U.S Department of Transportation has awarded $25 million in federal funding to strengthen bridge infrastructure in Austin along I-90. The funds are coming from the the department’s Infrastructure for Rebuilding America grant program.

“I-90 as long been an essential part of the economic vitality of Austin, of the county and of this region,” Mower County Board of Commissioners Chair Jeff Baldus said.

The money will help rebuild eight bridges and restore two bridges along I-90.

“When people see bridge after bridge after bridge, six of these after two years with the equipment they’re going to bring and what that means. I think it’s going to highlight the growth in Austin,” Austin mayor Steve King.

The city of Austin plans to install connective ramps that will integrate I-90 with the city, construct a network of accessible sidewalks and trails, and replace stormwater infrastructure.

“These infrastructure improvements will strengthen our transportation system and ensure connectivity for industry, employment centers, medical facility, retail, tourist destinations,” Baldus said.

Friday, the senators met with city and county leaders, Minnesota Department of Transportation representatives and community members just off of I-90 to announce the grant.

“This funding on I-90 is critical. It’s critical to boosting Austin’s economy and connecting to the greater region. Thousands of people rely on I-90 to get in and out of Austin everyday,” Sen. Klobuchar said.

“Investing in infrastructure is really about investing in people as Senator Klobuchar just said. It’s about creating great paying jobs. It’s about boosting the economy. It’s about keeping out communities safe and connected to schools and jobs,” Sen. Tina Smith said.

Actual construction on the project is set to begin in 2024 and go until 2026.

Also on Friday, Senator Smith visited Nu-Tek in Austin to learn about plans to expand Creekside Business Park in Mower County. The U.S. Economic Development Administration recently announced an investment of $2.2 million to the City of Austin to boost business and job growth.

She then traveled to Albert Lea for a roundtable discussion to talk about their Climate Action Plan.