The Senate has unveiled its $496 million borrowing bill.
Midway between Gov. Mark Dayton’s $775 million bonding request and the House’s scaled-down $280 million bill, the Senate bill passed out of the Capital Investment Committee Wednesday morning.
It includes funding for higher education, construction projects, roads and bridges, but gave the cold shoulder to some of the Twin Cities’ top priorities. There was no money for Minneapolis’ top request – the Nicollet Mall renovation, or for a new minor league ballpark in St. Paul.
There's no money for the Southwest light rail corridor, or repairs to the sculpture garden in Minneapolis. Mankato wouldn't get the money it hoped to see for its new civic center. But the Phillips neighborhood in Minneapolis will get $1.7 million for a new community center.
“This measure focuses on bricks and mortar, with an eye to the future,” Senjem said in a statement about the bonding bill. “There are many good reasons for this bill at this time. Low interest rates, needed infrastructure enhancements, balanced projects and a prudent investment-balanced together this is the right bill at the right time.”
The bill sets aside $25 million for exterior repairs to the aging Capitol building, well below what the governor had proposed, and a fraction of the $220 million the House has proposed.
The Senate bill actually allocates more money to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System than the governor requested -- $127 million, versus the governor's $111 million request. The University of Minnesota fared less well, with $39 million in the Senate bill, compared to the $78 million the governor requested.
Other highlights of the Senate bill include: $179 million for higher education projects; $125 million for state asset preservation; $30.5 million for flood mitigation; $35 million for roads and bridges; $20 million for waste and water infrastructure projects; $7 million to fix the dolphin tank at the Minnesota Zoo; and $6 million for Reinvest in Minnesota program that preserves wildlife habitat.
In all, the bill is $281 million less than the governor had requested, and about comparable to the House request, if you combine its bonding bill with $220 million Capitol repair bill. The bill could reach the Senate floor by Friday.
Here's the full proposal: