Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton released his $986 million bonding proposal for infrastructure and building construction, including a $20 million recommendation for the renovation of Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis.
In some ways, the unveiling of the bonding plan is like Christmas Day at the Capitol -- the day when cities and agencies statewide find out what plans Dayton will support. This year, it's a big list.
"This jobs bill would address many of our state's critical infrastructure needs while strengthening our economy and getting more people back to work," Dayton said.
Yet, the bonding proposal is really more of a wish list. Even though House Capitol Investment Chair Alice Houseman said he did hit all the major projects, it's not a done deal. She still must craft a bill that can court Republican votes, and some GOP lawmakers were quick to voice opposition.
BONDING PROPOSAL HIGHLIGHTS
- $126M for remaining State Capitol renovations
- $80M for preservation and replacement at MnSCU and University of Minnesota
- $74M for additional MnSCU campus improvements
- $63.7M for the Minnesota Security Hospital and sex offender program in St. Peter
- $37M for Rochester Civic Center
- $30M for bridge repair and replacement
- $29M for roads and bridges at Arden Hills TCAAP site
- $14.5M for Mankato Civic Center
- $14M for Minnesota Children's Museum in St. Paul
- $11.6M for St. Cloud River's Edge Convention Center expansion
- $6.9M for NorShor Theatre in Duluth
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State budget commissioner Jim Schowalter said with general obligation bonds and federal and local matches, the total proposed construction investment is $1.4 billion.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING
"The included St. Paul projects -- improvements at Como Zoo, an expansion of the Children's Museum, and the renovation of the Palace Theatre -- are crucial projects that will develop culture and education for all Minnesotans. We are encouraged by Gov. Dayton's support and look forward to working with the Legislature to move the bill forward." – St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman
"This bill gives priority to projects that are ready to go. Many of them have been delayed for years and are crucial to revitalizing downtown business centers, modernizing MnSCU and U of M buildings and classrooms, and improving parks, roads, and local infrastructure." - Gov. Mark Dayton
"The governor's bonding proposal makes construction projects for higher education a top priority and recognizes the critical role Minnesota's state colleges and universities play in providing access to an extraordinary education for Minnesotans from all backgrounds and every part of the state. These investments will help ensure that our graduates have the skills needed to keep Minnesota globally competitive. We appreciate the governor's support of our students and the communities we serve." - Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Chancellor Steven J. Rosenstone