Gov. Mark Dayton is requesting $750 million to build roads, bridges and convention center, repair the crumbling State Capitol and fund other state-backed construction projects across Minnesota.
The governor's bonding proposal includes $109 million to restore the scaffolding-encrusted Capitol, $20 million to reconstruct Nicollet Avenue in downtown Minneapolis, $14 million to double the size of St. Paul's Children's Museum, $63 million to fund civic center expansions in Rochester, Mankato and St. Cloud, and $25 million to improve the roads around a former ammunition plant that Arden Hills once hoped would be the new home for the Vikings Stadium.
"These are projects, many of which were delayed even before I took office," said Dayton, who estimates the projects on his wish list will create 21,000 new jobs.
The House is expected to unveil its own bonding bill later this week.
Like most bonding proposals, the list is a mix of funds for unglamorous projects like sewage treatment plants and road projects that local communities might not be able to afford for themselves without state backing. It also includes $7 million for the Minneapolis sculpture garden, $4 million for parks and trails development statewide, $10 million for the Minnesota Zoo to spruce up its Discovery Bay and snow monkey exhibits, and $200,000 for Duluth to work on planning and development for its minor league ballpark.
This wasn't supposed to be the year communities come to the state with their wish lists for sewer projects, or downtown renovation funds. But after last year's smaller-than-expected $500 million bonding bill, Dayton said he needed another round of bonding to deal with the "backlog." He said he ran through $2.5 billion worth of project requests while drawing up his proposal.
Dayton said 43 percent of the projects benefit the Metro area, a figure skewed by the big-ticket price of renovating the State Capitol in one large chunk. For a map of Dayton's proposed bonding projects, click here.