Tom Cherveny / West Central Tribune / May 14, 2021
WILLMAR -— Newly elected U.S. Rep. Michelle Fischbach voiced her support for the Highway 23 Coalition’s efforts to make the highway a four-lane route from Interstate 90 to Interstate 35.
Fischbach offered her support along with expressing her concerns about President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure proposal during a brief presentation to Highway 23 Coalition members during their annual meeting Friday. It was held via Zoom video meeting software.
The first-term, Republican congresswoman from Paynesville opened her remarks by stating that she had seen the coalition’s newly erected billboard along Minnesota Highway 23 near Interstate 94 promoting a four-lane route.
The coalition consists of more than 90 business, government and organization members promoting the Highway 23 corridor from the state’s southwestern corner to Duluth. It would like to see the entire length of the highway expanded to four lanes.
It’s what one member termed a a “legacy” project. It has an estimated cost of $1 billion.
Fishchbach told the coalition members that she has concerns about the size of President Biden’s infrastructure package. “I’m very concerned about that because I don’t think it puts enough of that in roads and bridges,” she said.
She earlier told a Minnesota's District 17's remote town hall meeting in April that she supports some aspects of Biden's new infrastructure package, such as broadband, but is cautious regarding electric vehicle spending.
She had to cut her remarks short to participate in voting in Congress, and turned it over to Nick Lunneborg, her legislative director.
He said Republican concerns over the size of Biden’s proposal focus on whether the funds are to be borrowed, or raised through tax increases. He said the Republican caucus in Congress would also like to see a larger ratio of the funding devoted to what he termed traditional infrastructure, such as roads and bridges. He said the congresswoman will also urge a larger commitment of funds for broadband expansion in rural areas.