Dayton wants $1 billion in building money

  • Article by: RACHEL E. STASSEN-BERGER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 16, 2014 - 5:46 AM

The infrastructure-laden bonding proposal must navigate gantlet of GOP lawmakers leery of increasing state’s debt.

Gov. Mark Dayton wants Minnesota to fund $1 billion in construction projects across the state to bolster civic centers, theaters, college and university buildings and roads.

The costliest projects on the capital improvements wish list that the governor released Wednesday include $126 million to finish restoration of the deteriorating State Capitol, $56 million to remodel the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter and $29 million for Arden Hills to rebuild roads around a former ammunition plant. Dayton, a DFLer, also wants $50 million for what he said would be the state’s largest bonding investment in affordable housing.

“This jobs bill would address many of our state’s critical infrastructure needs, while strengthening our economy and getting more people back to work,” Dayton said.

The administration has estimated that if all projects were included, the proposal would generate about 27,000 jobs.

Over the next four months, legislators will bring Dayton’s proposal into focus, and come up with their own lists, in an attempt to create a bipartisan borrowing measure. DFLers control the House and Senate, but bonding bills require supermajorities that will need Republican votes.

Lawmakers already have spent months crisscrossing the state to evaluate city, county and school projects.

Some of the ambition may be constrained by finances. While the state’s fiscal picture is improving, it is not yet clear how much legislators are willing to add to the state’s debt load. Last year, lawmakers thwarted Dayton’s desire to borrow $750 million for building projects. Instead, they passed a $176 million bill, most of which went to start the State Capitol’s multiyear renovation.

Many of the projects on Dayton’s wish list this year are making return appearances, having been proposed and rejected in previous years.

‘Wrong priorities’

Republicans made clear on Wednesday that even at first glance, Dayton’s ideas this year are too rich for their liking.

“It’s too big and also, I think, reflects the wrong priorities,” said Rep. Matt Dean, R-Dellwood. Dean, the lead Republican on the House Capitol Investment Committee. Any borrowing plan should focus on fixing what the state already has, he said.

DFLer leaders were far more welcoming of Dayton’s recommendations.

“The money listed in the governor’s bonding proposals will go a long way toward strengthening both the infrastructure and the economy in our state,” said Sen. LeRoy Stumpf, DFL-Plummer, chairman of the Senate Capital Investment Committee.

Dayton said he did not consult DFL or Republican lawmakers in assembling his plan, nor did he consider what political districts housed the projects he picked.

On Wednesday, Dayton criticized the Republicans who led the Legislature in 2010 and 2011 as “right-wing extremists” for their lack of support for statewide building.

“It is unfortunate that Governor Dayton, as he has done in the past, chooses to indulge in name-calling rather than engaging constructively with Republicans,” said Senate Minority Leader David Hann, R-Eden Prairie. “Our priorities will be roads and bridges, critical infrastructure, public safety and maintaining buildings we already own.”

Dayton suggested that Republicans were shortsighted in their lack of support for the downtown improvement projects he has long proposed funding.

“I was just frankly astonished that the majorities in the Minnesota Senate and House were unresponsive to the needs of downtown cities, especially in our major state and regional centers,” Dayton said, referring to the bonding session of 2012, when Republicans controlled the House and Senate.

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    Find the latest news and information about Mark Dayton.

  • “This jobs bill would address many … critical infrastructure needs,” Gov. Mark Dayton said.

  • Nicollet Mall$20 million for sidewalk, road improvements

  • Children’s museum$14 million for expansion and renovation

  • Roads and Bridges$79 million for repair and replacements

  • Water$70.7 million for drinking water, treatment

  • State Capitol$126.3 million to complete restoration

  • MnSCU and U of M$233 million for labs, classrooms, job training

  • « This jobs bill would …[get] more people back to work. »Gov. Dayton

  • Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis $20 million for sidewalk and road improvements

    Children’s Museum in St. Paul $14 million for expansion and renovation

    MnSCU and U of M $233 million for labs, classrooms, job training

    Bridges and roads $79 million for bridge repair and replacements and road work

    State Capitol $126.3 million to complete restoration

    Water $70.7 million for clean drinking water, wastewater treatment

    More projects on the wish list

    $126 million — complete the multiyear restoration of the Minnesota Capitol. The state approved $109 million for the project last year, and construction is already underway.

    $114 million — renovate, construct and improve buildings at Minnesota State Colleges and Universities campuses

    $118 million — design, renovate and build facilities at the University of Minnesota campuses

    $32 million — build a new health services, intake and loading dock at the St. Cloud prison

    $5 million — construct a new security fence around the unfenced women’s prison in Shakopee.

    $10 million — repair, replace and renew prison facilities

    $13 million — improve Red Lake district schools

    $10 million — rehabilitate publicly owned housing

    $56 million — construct and equip new facilities at the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter, which houses civilly committed patients

    $7 million — remodel existing buildings at the St. Peter Regional Treatment Center to make it usable to house sex offenders

    $5 million — to replace the chalet at Giants Ridge Event Center in Biwabik

    $5 million — to the Chisholm-Hibbing Airport Authority to construct a terminal

    $7 million — to the Duluth Economic Development Authority to renovate the NorShor Arts Center in Duluth

    $14 million — to renovate and expand the arena and events center in Mankato

    $20 million — to revitalize Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis

    $7 million — to Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to renovate the Sculpture Garden

    $29 million — to Ramsey County to improve the roads and bridges near the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant

    $20 million — to the Lewis and Clark Joint Powers Board to improve water delivery to Luverne

    $8.5 million — to Koochiching County to build sewage treatment facilities to clean the waters around Voyageurs National Park and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

    $37 million — to Rochester to expand the Mayo Civic Center

    $11 million — to St. Cloud to complete River’s Edge Convention Center expansion

    $14 million — to St. Paul to renovate the Children’s Museum

    $9 million — improvements around Como Regional Park in St. Paul

    $10.6 million — to the State Academy for the Deaf in Faribault to replace a dormitory

    $30 million — various local bridge replacement grants

    Source : Gov. Mark Dayton’s office

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