The Minnesota Senate has passed a nearly $1.9 billion public works construction package, a day after the House finally broke months of partisan stalemate and approved the bill.
The package, known as a bonding bill, is the biggest piece of unfinished business left over from the 2020 regular session.
The Senate voted 64-3 Thursday to send the bill to Democratic Gov. Tim Walz for his signature. Twenty-five House Republicans crossed over Wednesday night to join the House Democratic majority and pass it 100-34.
Passage of this bill is very significant to northwest Minnesota as it includes funding for a new cargo hanger at the Thief River Falls Regional Airport. The current hanger is able to hold three Falcon cargo jets however it is only able to hold one of the Bombardier CRJ-200 jets which leaves all other jets out on the tarmac-particularly challenging during the winter.
The proposed new hanger would measure 280 feet by 170 feet. Although the dimensions could change during the design process, the hanger would remain at 50,000 square feet and would be approximately 2 ½ times as large as the current hanger. The new hanger would be located just north of the current, smaller hanger and would comfortably accommodate the CRJ200 cargo planes with room to load them.
The Airport Authority’s original request was for 7.5 million dollars to build the hanger however the funding they will receive through the bonding bill will be 5.5 million which will require either more grant applications or a hanger redesign. The Thief RIver Falls Airport Authority consists of Mayor Brian Holmer, County Board Chairman Darryl Tveitbakk, Councilman Curt Howe, County Commissioner Don Jensen and Rocksbury Township Board Chairman Nancy Tofte. Mayor Holmer spoke with Thief River Falls Radio on Thursday morning and expressed optimistic hope of a spring start to construction.