Senate committee holds hearing on BDPI bill

A bill to increase funding for the Greater Minnesota Business Development Public Infrastructure (BDPI) Grant Program was heard in the Senate Jobs and Economic Growth Finance and Policy Committee on Monday. SF 536, authored by Sen. John Jasinski (R-Faribault), would provide $5 million in cash from the general fund for the program. We are also pursuing a separate bill that would allocate $20 million in bonding.

BDPI is an economic development program that provides grants to communities for up to 50 percent of the capital costs associated with the public infrastructure to accommodate economic expansion. Nearly 100 Greater Minnesota cities have received BDPI grants since the program’s creation in 2003.

GMNP Executive Director Dan Dorman testified in favor of the bill, noting that BDPI has proven to be a successful economic development tool for Greater Minnesota cities. Shane Zahrt, a lobbyist for the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities, also testified in support of the bill. Zahrt shared a letter from Two Harbors City Administrator Dan Walker, who cited a BDPI grant as being the catalyst for a Castle Danger Brewery expansion project that has helped revitalize his city’s downtown and bring jobs to the area.

SF 536 was laid over for possible inclusion in a larger omnibus bill.