Minnesota legislators have agreed to more than $1 billion in new state-backed buildings and construction projects, placing new buildings, housing and economic development initiatives in every corner of the state.
The agreement breaks a major deadlock in the closing days of the session as Democrats and Republicans had not been able to agree on the right mix of state-backed projects.
“We have worked hard to put together a statewide bonding bill that makes strategic investments that will create thousands of jobs and support the continued growth of Minnesota’s economy,” said Rep. Alice Hausman, a DFLer from St Paul who helped broker the deal. “This bill will benefit Minnesotans across the state at a time when our economy is continuing to improve.”
The measure includes $126 million to finish the State Capitol renovation and another $240 million for new and renovated buildings at the University of Minnesota and the MnSCU system.
The agreement includes $100 million for roads and bridges and another $100 million for affordable housing, the largest housing investment in state history.
“I’m especially proud of the dollars for housing infrastructure, which are sorely needed across the state,” said Sen. LeRoy Stumpf, DFL-Plummer. “The bill also includes a robust investment in roads and economic development, which go hand in hand—our transportation infrastructure must keep pace with our growing economy.”
The measure calls for $846 million in state-backed bond debt and another $200 million in cash.
Legislators do not seek to borrow as much as DFL Gov. Mark Dayton wanted, but legislators stripped a provision he opposed that would have prohibited the state from requiring sprinklers in new homes.
The construction measure is a significant accomplishment of the legislative session, and will set in motion a rapid completion of the remaining budget and tax proposals that had been held up.
“We worked very hard to include a strong higher education component for colleges and universities statewide,” Stumpf said. “This bonding bill will enhance Minnesota and our quality of life for years to come, and I’m very optimistic we will cross the finish line in the coming days.”