On Monday, Gov. Mark Dayton unveiled a $750 million bonding bill that is expected to create 21,000 jobs in the state by investing in infrastructure, higher education, mental health care and more.
The plan aligns with Dayton's proposed budget measures, and he said priority was given to projects that are ready to begin quickly.
"Many of [the projects] have been delayed for years and are needed to revitalize downtown business centers, modernize college classrooms and laboratories and improve infrastructure throughout our state," Dayton said.
The bonding bill devotes $46.6 million toward transportation, $98.5 million on expanding civic centers and the Children's museum, $109 million for restoring the state Capitol building, $189 million to higher education, and over $300 million to projects that will reduce pollution, care for veterans and expand mental health care services.
ROADS AND BRIDGES
Ever since the Interstate 35W bridge collapsed in Minneapolis, the state's bridges have been a focal point of the discussion surrounding aging infrastructure. Dayton's bonding bill would dedicate $20 million to fund bridge repair and replacements across the state.
Although the Vikings stadium won't be situated at the site of the old Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant in Arden Hills, the area's potential for development hasn't been forgotten at the Capitol. Dayton would allocate $25 million to improve roads there and at the Trunk Highway Turnback in Rochester.
The plan also seeks $1.6 million to make improvements at the Metro Bus Operations Center in St. Cloud.
Dayton says revitalizing downtown areas in cities across the state will do more than simply create jobs while the projects are being completed. He expects such investments will also attract private investors and support economic development in those communities.
The proposal would distribute $98.5 million in the following way:
- $35 million for the Rochester Civic Center expansion
- $20 million to reconstruct Nicollet Avenue in downtown Minneapolis
- $14.5 million for a new addition to the Mankato Civic Center
- $14 million to double the size of the Children's Museum in downtown St. Paul
- $10.1 million for an expansion of the St. Cloud Civic Center
RESTORING THE CAPITOL
For 30 years, plans to repair the aging Capitol building in St. Paul have been debated and put on hold, but Dayton says investing $109 million now -- and completing the restoration by the end of 2016 -- would ensure that the building remains functional and safe for the next century.
The sum would be spent on:
- Replacing the roof and finalizing repairs on the crumbling stone exterior
- Replacing the corroded plumbing system that was installed in 1905
- Upgrading mechanical and electrical systems, including telecommunications
- Increasing the building's energy efficiency
- Improving access for the public
- Enhancing safety and security
HIGHER EDUCATION HIGHLIGHTS
In an effort to ensure that Minnesota's students have access to world-class laboratories and classrooms to get the training they will need for the jobs of the future, Dayton wants to divvy up $189 million in the following ways:
- $85 million to complete the STEM Tate Laboratory renovation at the University of Minnesota
- $35 million to improve infrastructure at 25 Minnesota State College universities across the state
- $32.5 million to build new teaching and research labs, classrooms and student support areas at St. Paul's Metro State University to allow the university to offer five new science degrees
- $15 million for infrastructure improvements at eight U of M campuses
MENTAL HEALTH, VETERANS' CARE
The bonding bill would also invest in regional and statewide care for the state's veterans, including a $57.8 million investment that would help expand the Minneapolis Veteran's Home.
The proposal also dedicates $54.8 million to establish regional treatment centers and mental health facilities across the state.
STATE PARKS, POLLUTION CONTROL
Flooding in the Duluth area left significant damage in the state's prized parks, and Dayton's proposal would dedicate $24 million to improve roads, bridges, buildings and trails inside the state park system,
The bonding bill also asks for an additional $4 million for parks and trails across the state and $3 million for reforestation efforts inside state forests.
Dayton would also like to see $51.5 million put toward pollution control efforts, wastewater infrastructure and clean water projects across the state. He also is seeking $15 million to shore up flood hazard mitigation in the Moorhead area.
Dayton's proposal also asks for $50.3 million to preserve assets and improve the infrastructure at correctional facilities, and he wants to devote $40 million to affordable housing efforts.