Civic centers, mass transit, conservation programs and other projects were pitched Monday by city and county officials who urged Gov. Tim Pawlenty and the Legislature to approve $150 million in additional public works spending.
"These are projects that are going to be done at some point, but they're going to become much more costly in the future," said St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis.
Proposed bonding projects could become bargaining chips in continuing negotiations over the budget crisis.
But key DFLers noted that the Legislature had already approved the additional items earlier in the session, only to have Pawlenty veto them.
"They've got to go to the governor's office and make their case," said Sen. Keith Langseth, DFL-Glyndon.
Referring to the governor, Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul, added, "There has to be just a really clear sense from him of what's doable."
Kleis and Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin called for about $150 million in additional public works spending. The bonding bill passed by the Legislature in March contained $1 billion in spending, which Pawlenty's vetoes whittled to $686 million.
At the time, Pawlenty left open the possibility of reconsidering the stricken projects if legislators revised them. One conservation project would bring in federal money and is backed by hunting and fishing groups as well as other conservationists.
McLaughlin and Kleis cited that proposal as well as mass transit projects vetoed by the governor as having a chance of approval in the waning days of the session.
The Metropolitan Council sought $43 million for mass transit, while Pawlenty recommended $10 million.
"The governor is open to an additional bonding bill," Hausman said, holding out hope for a bus transit corridor on Cedar Avenue and the Southwest light-rail line.
"Nobody has closed the door to a second bonding bill," said Kleis, who is pushing for a St. Cloud civic center.
The governor's office did not respond to questions about Pawlenty's current position on a second bonding bill.
Projects with broad regional impact will be needed to put together enough votes to pass a smaller bonding bill, Hausman said.
Kleis and McLaughlin talked about passing a second bonding bill after the Legislature passes a budget bill erasing a deficit, but bonding could become a factor in budget negotiations, Hausman said.
"I don't see it happening," Langseth said. "But like Yogi Berra, that great philosopher said, 'It ain't over till it's over.'"
Pat Doyle • 651-222-1210