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$800 million bonding bill rejected by House as too small

The $800 million bonding bill failed on a vote in the House by 70-62. It needed three-fifths or 81 votes to pass.

DFL leaders said it was too small.

From the Daily Session: Alice Hausman (DFL-St. Paul) said,  “We have not yet included all that was in last year’s bill, so the backlog is growing,” she said. “… It needs a bit more work.” For example, she said about one-third of capital investment bills traditionally go for higher education, whereas this bill is at about 10 percent. She also noted the bill is not regionally balanced. Gov. Dayton’s bonding wish-list calls for $1.5 billion in borrowing.

 “Odd-numbered years are traditionally focused on establishing a state budget with a smaller bonding bill; even-numbered years are often centered on a large capital investment plan. However, a chaotic finish to the 2016 session resulted in no bill. Capital investment was also part of the unsuccessful special session discussion over the final seven months of 2016.”

Here is Rep. Dean Urdahl: “It is a little bit disconcerting to me to realize that there are members here who are prepared to vote against projects that are vital to their district,” he said. “I implore you to consider what you’re doing and why. We can’t say that we voted ‘no’ on local projects because $800 million isn’t enough money.”

Among the more high-profile projects in the House bill are:

  • $70.26 million for renovation and expansion at the state security hospital in St. Peter;
  • $69.62 million for rail grade separation crossings in Coon Rapids, Moorhead and Red Wing on crude oil rail corridors;
  • $59 million for local bridge replacement;
  • $56.25 million for the local road improvement program;
  • $55 million in higher education asset preservation ($30 million for the University of Minnesota and $25 million for Minnesota State);
  • $55 million in water infrastructure ($40 million for wastewater and $15 million for drinking water);
  • $25.4 million for contaminated sediment management actions to restore water quality in the St. Louis River Area of Concern;
  • $15 million for Department of Natural Resources asset preservation;
  • $11.55 million for four flood hazard mitigations; and
  • $10 million for public housing rehabilitation.

 

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