Governor Mark Dayton is set to announce his decision this morning (10am) on a bonding bill for state public works projects. Some line-item vetoes are likely, but Dayton wouldn’t give any details yesterday. “I spent two hours working on the letter this morning — last night and this morning,” he said. “I’m not gonna blow my own cover.”
The bill that Republicans passed with Democrats’ help includes 825 million dollars in standard “general obligation” bonds, but also taps other sources to bring the total to nearly 1.6 billion dollars — a larger dollar amount than Dayton originally proposed. The governor said Tuesday, “I have opinions on even parts that I’m prepared to go along with.”
In the bonding bill, the legislature passed there’s 542 million dollars for transportation projects — 400 million of that for the Corridors of Commerce program beginning in 2022. The University of Minnesota would receive 79 million dollars for buildings. State colleges and universities would get 129 million. The bill includes 32 million dollars for three new veterans homes in Bemidji, Montevideo, and Preston. There’s also 25 million dollars for school safety grants.
Other projects of note:
6 million dollars for Moorhead – rail grade separation crossing at 21st Street South
16 million for upgrades at the state correctional facility in Saint Cloud
8 million to the National Eagle Center in Wabasha
5 million to demolish the RiverCentre parking ramp in Saint Paul to prepare for construction of a new ramp
15 million for renovating the Fort Snelling Visitor Center
Duluth Senator Eric Simonson says he’s extremely disappointed the port city’s request for 164 million dollars was *not* included in the bonding bill. It was to build out the public infrastructure for a planned 675-million-dollar upgrade at Essentia Health’s Duluth Hospital and a 200-million-dollar upgrade at Saint Luke’s. Simonson says he suspects politics played a role. Rochester Republican Dave Senjem says “absolutely, certainly not” — that the measure came up at the last minute in the legislative session after encountering trouble in a key committee.