The Minnesota House unveiled an $800 million plan for new state-funded construction projects across Minnesota.
The hefty bonding bill, unveiled one day after Gov. Mark Dayton’s $750 million request, echoes many of the governor’s call for more spending for roads and bridges, sewers, transit systems, civic centers, parks and museums, new colleges and university facilities and $109 million to overhaul the State Capitol.
There are a few notable differences.
The House bill contains a fraction of the funding for veterans’ services the governor requested. House Capital Investment Chair Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul, argued that rather than spending $54 million to expand the Minneapolis Veterans Home, the state needs a comprehensive plan to assist homeless veterans statewide. Expanding the Minneapolis facility would provide 100 new beds, she said, but wouldn’t help the majority of the more than 800 sick and elderly veterans on the state waiting list for assisted care.
The $20 million Dayton proposed to spend on the renovation of Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis is nowhere to be found in the House bill. It cuts the $10 million Dayton requested for the Minneapolis Zoo in half.
The House bill does, however, include $7 million for preservation work at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, $3 million for the Hennepin Center for the Arts, $14 million to double the size of the Minnesota Children’s Museum in St. Paul and $50 million to the Metropolitan Council for transit capital improvements.
The House bonding bill calls for more than $100 million each for the University of Minnesota system and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system -- about $22 million more than the governor had requested.