Gov. Mark Dayton said his chief of staff, Tina Smith, will head the administration's efforts to forge a deal on proposed revitalization of Rochester sought by the city and its famed Mayo Clinic.
"I'm asking Tina Smith to spearhead the administration's role in that," Dayton said Tuesday, responding to a question about legislative criticism that the administration was not pushing the project.
He said Smith will work with legislators to find an agreement. "It's got to be bipartisan and bicameral," he said.
With Mayo leading the way, the city of Rochester is embarking on a 20-year effort to remake the city into a more vibrant destination. The total price tag has been put at $6 billion, and the state has been asked for $500 million worth of tax breaks over the period.
The deal is fervently supported in Rochester but has run into criticism at the legislature, where other large private firms are also seeking help. The Mall of America in Bloomington and Maplewood-based 3M also have been seeking tax breaks.
Dayton said with Smith working on the Rochester project, "It's in great hands."
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