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RST improvements depend on special session bonding bill

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- While much of the debate in St. Paul centers on coronavirus response and police reform, also left undone is the huge spending package known as the bonding bill.

It's the legislation that funds various infrastructure projects around the state including many in our area.

A big project at Rochester International Airport is nearly ready to get off the ground. It is just waiting for clearance from lawmakers.

The project has been years in the making, and it'll upgrade parts of runway 220.

Rochester International Airport Director John Reed

"It's reached the end of its useful life that happens. Just like with roadways and roves or anything else eventually you have to make that investment, and this is a big investment," John Reed, Rochester International Airport Director said. ​

The upgrade to runway 220 comes to a total of $79.2 million.

Rochester International Airport Runway 220

Reed said funding for the investment comes from the Federal Aviation Administration, the city of Rochester and the state bonding bill.​

The bonding bill in the first special session did not pass. Sen. Carla Nelson said the runway was still a priority.

"The senate bonding bill, the governor's bonding bill and the house bonding bill all included the Rochester International Airport,"​ Nelson said.

Reed said RST is asking for $11.4 million from the state. While that may be a big ask, he is hopeful the state will come together to pass the bonding bill.

"We are very hopeful in this special session that the legislative body will come to good conclusions and that we can begin moving forward,"​ Reed said.

While there are no definite answers yet, Reed said he is looking forward to the long overdue improvements.​

"My intent is to start construction in the spring and in five years we will have a brand new beautiful runway. It's gonna take that long," Reed said.

Ubah Ali

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