Moorhead city officials mainly wanted to discuss infrastructure and the possibility that federal aid could help several projects at the meeting at the Hjemkomst Center. The main project on the agenda was an estimated $ 114 million railroad underpass under the downtown tracks.
Director of Government Affairs Lisa Bode told the Republican MP who beat longtime Rep. Collin Peterson last year that she was seeking Fischbach’s support in the fight for a federal grant to close the gap between $ 65 million donated in a recent state bond bill and the estimated cost.
The city has applied for a grant from the Federal Ministry of Transport on seven occasions, she said, and was listed as “highly recommended.”
Federal transport staff preferred to provide aid in the latest round of grants, Bode said, but they learned that a “political review” of the plans had left Moorhead behind. They are asking for $ 23 million in this year’s request, she said.
Another opportunity for further help could present itself if a bipartisan deal is reached on President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan being debated in Washington this month.
In an interview with The Forum, Fischbach, who is well aware of the talks, said she would support more aid to Moorhead. She said she wanted the bill to be limited to “roads and bridges” and not to issues such as home health care.
Biden’s plan for $ 1.7 trillion in infrastructure assistance only provides about 8% of roads and bridges, she added.
Moorhead could use federal aid for other transportation infrastructure projects, Bode said, including a cycle and pedestrian bridge between Fargo and Moorhead near the Bluestem Amphitheater and the reconstruction of Center Avenue next to the mall in Moorhead Center difficulty.
At least three developers are interested in working in the mall area, she said, adding that a reconstructed road would be a boost for this area.
City leaders also told Fischbach there was a need for help or action with affordable housing.
The member had a different opinion on the matter. During her week-long tour of the vast Seventh District stretching from Canada to the Iowa border, she said, she found cities needed more housing ” at market prices ”instead of low-income housing.
Bode and Kristie Leshovky, director of community development, said this was also needed in Moorhead’s rapid growth, but there was also a need for affordable housing, especially for low-income seniors.
City manager Dan Mahli told Fischbach the city is in one of Minnesota’s five fastest growing counties, affecting housing and transportation.
The city has grown from around 38,000 residents in 2010 to what they believe to be around 45,000 in the last census, he said.
Mahli said he believed the city would only “flourish more over the next decade.”
During her interview, Fischbach said she wanted former President Donald Trump to “make a decision” on her candidacy again. She said he had done “very good things” on tax policy and in Israel during his tenure.
She noted that she was ready to “move on” since the last election and focus on helping residents in the district.