This congressional district stretches across the southern part of the state, all the way from the borders of South Dakota to Wisconsin.
We have many claims to fame: Numerous institutions of higher learning. A world-class healthcare facility. A fine example of Prairie School Architecture by legendary architect Louis Sullivan. The bluffs of Winona overlooking the Mississippi River. Fields of corn and soybeans. And let’s not forget the Jolly Green Giant that once towered above I-90 in Blue Earth.
Roads, bridges, railroads, and airports are important infrastructure features in our local economies. We want to maintain them and continue to grow our cities, towns, businesses, and agriculture.
Our legislators need to hear from us. Click the Raise Our Grade button and let them know you support investment in our infrastructure.
Our district’s urgent needs
Infrastructure projects will address critical problems, prepare structures for current and future capacity, and maintain, expand, and improve essential systems. Much-needed funding will cover design/engineering, materials, and construction.
A Short Story of Infrastructure: Water Works
In the city where the Mayo brothers founded their innovative hospital and engineered a healthcare revolution, one effort to keep people healthy is largely invisible to the public: wastewater management and treatment.
For Convenience—And Health
Water infrastructure and the people who manage it may be the unsung health heroes of our communities. In the not-so-distant past, untreated waste and unclean water caused outbreaks of disease: cholera, dysentery, e-coli, typhoid, hepatitis A, salmonella…. Water infrastructure gets the credit for removing these threats from our consciousness and communities.
An Efficient System
Rochester’s water, storm water and wastewater infrastructures work deep beneath sidewalks and roads.
– Storm water is captured in pipes, treated via ponds or infiltration systems, and discharged to the river.
– Clean water is pumped to businesses and homes.
– Wastewater is efficiently pumped to a treatment plant via 500 miles of pipes. There, solids, bacteria, organic material, ammonia and phosphorus are removed. The process generates energy to heat the plant and provides some of the electricity to run it, too.
– The processes begin again.
High Tech Management
Technology gives Minnesota cities like Rochester the tools they need to proactively manage their water infrastructure. Workers can “televise”—that is, view pipe interiors using video technology. If they find potential problems or decay, they can preemptively “line” pipes or replace them. They can “jet” pipes with high-powered water to remove debris and roots. They can use a geographic information system to map the city’s water infrastructure for ongoing maintenance and management.
Delayed Investment Costs Money
But in all cities, shortfalls in local, state, and federal infrastructure spending require engineers and leaders to make difficult decisions. When cities are forced to delay important system work, they instead have to urgently react when a water main breaks, a sewer line collapses, or existing pipes are too small to handle the current load of wastewater.
That’s an expensive and inefficient way to manage infrastructure. It requires digging up streets and sidewalks, closing roads, and shutting off water. Losing access to showers and toilets is aggravating, but there are bigger potential issues: sinkholes, raw wastewater entering the river or other areas where the public can come into contact with it, and sewage backups into people’s homes. These occurrences can cause public safety problems and human health hazards. Leaking water wastes resources and depletes water supplies. It costs money that could be used elsewhere.
Funding For Quality of Life
Water infrastructure isn’t shiny or showy—out of sight, out of mind! Most people take clean drinking water, flushing toilets, and un-flooded streets for granted. They probably don’t even think about infrastructure until there’s a problem. But when something goes wrong, the fix can be very costly.
Water is part of our Minnesota quality of life. We want clean water for our homes, and streams, rivers, and lakes that aren’t endangered by polluted water flowing into them.
Likewise, we need safe, up-to-date roads and bridges, airports, ports, dams, and railroads. They ensure our ability to compete in the world. They contribute to our safety, our economy, and our convenience. We must have infrastructure spending now to maintain our quality of life—and to assure a good life will be possible for our children and grandchildren in the future. We must Raise Our Grade, Minnesota.
Story images © City of Rochester Public Works Department
Funding for Quality of Life image © Minnesota Department of Transportation