Republican leaders appear to have heeded Gov. Mark Dayton's demand that the Legislature quickly approve $105 million in state spending on 28 road and bridge projects, which will be immediately reimbursed by the federal government.
The House and Senate last week voted unanimously to approve the funding. A spokesman for Dayton said Friday that the governor is planning to sign the legislation once he gets it.
The DFL governor called a news conference nearly two weeks ago to pressure Republicans to swiftly approve legislation for the projects, distributed across the state. He urged legislators to approve it by March 31 or risk losing the summer construction season.
Minnesota Department of Transportation Commissioner Charles Zelle said his agency would need time to seek bids from contractors. Many are ready to get to work, Zelle said.
Zelle also warned that the state risked losing federal funding for the projects to other states if there were further delays.
For months, Dayton had urged the Legislature to approve the spending after more federal funds became available for the various road and bridge projects. Former state Rep. Tim Kelly, R-Red Wing, insisted last fall that the approval could wait until the current legislative session.
In recent weeks, Dayton and the GOP-led Legislature have found compromises on a series of issues that had eluded bipartisan agreement last fall. Among them are the health care premium relief law as well as state aid to the city of Madelia, which experienced a devastating fire in its downtown a year ago.