Klobuchar, Smith Secure Significant Federal Funding to Reconstruct Highway 197 in Bemidji

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has awarded $18 million in federal funding to reconstruct Highway 197. Specifically, the grant, provided through USDOT’s RAISE program, will help enable critical safety and mobility improvements to the highway. 

“Investments in our infrastructure serve as down payments on the long-term economic well-being of our state,” said Klobuchar. “This federal funding will help make critical infrastructure improvements that will bolster the safety and mobility of one of Bemidji’s busiest routes, making it easier for Minnesotans to access work, school, and other destinations.” 

 “Investing in infrastructure is about more than just fixing roadways and bridges; it’s about improving people’s lives and that’s exactly what this project will do. Not only will this address issues caused by aging pavement and utilities, but the added roundabouts will also boost safety for one of Bemidji’s busiest roads,” said Smith. “I’m glad we’re able to be a partner at the federal level to ensure this project gets done.”

These resources will enable Bemidji to reconstruct State Highway 197, build three roundabouts, and boost highway safety by creating new traffic signal systems and urbanized cross sections.

RAISE grants can be used by communities across the country for a wide variety of projects with significant local or regional impact. The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which Klobuchar and Smith supported and was signed into law last year, delivered a 50 percent increase in the amount of available funding for the RAISE grants, as well as resources for improving the state’s roads, bridges, public transportation, and water infrastructure.