State lacks infrastructure funds

LITTLE FALLS (AP) — Minnesota doesn’t have enough funding to update all of its aging underground infrastructure, as water and sewer pipes reach the end of their expected life spans in many areas across the state.

About $11 billion will be needed over the next two decades to cover drinking water and wastewater improvements, according to state officials, Minnesota Public Radio reported.

“I think we are on the verge of what could be a crisis,” said Elizabeth Wefel, a lobbyist for the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities. “When you start seeing all of these facilities across the state starting to hit a certain age, and the funding isn’t keeping up to help rehabilitate or build new, we are going to be facing a crisis.”

She said deteriorating pipes don’t get as much attention or funding as damaged roads or bridges because they’re not as visible.

Many Minnesota towns have water treatment plants that are 30 or 40 years old, and pipes that date back to the Great Depression, said Jeff Freeman, executive director of the Minnesota Public Facilities Authority.