Dayton: $750M Bonding Bill Would Add 21K Jobs
Governor Mark Dayton on Monday introduced a bonding proposal that would invest $750 million in statewide projects and create an estimated 21,000 Minnesota jobs.
The money would be heavily invested in higher education, state Capitol restoration, downtown improvements, and transportation infrastructure.
Nicollet Mall would see sweeping changes thanks to a $20 million reconstruction and redesign. The project would include new paving, improved storm water management, additional green space, and a pedestrian-friendly environment.
The largest portion of the proposal, however—or $189 million—would go toward higher education. Dayton’s proposal calls for $85 million to complete the Tate Physics Lab at the University of Minnesota’s Minneapolis campus, $35 million to provide infrastructure improvements at 25 campuses within the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, and $15 million to improve the infrastructure at eight University of Minnesota campuses statewide.
“My proposal gives priority to projects that are ready to go,” Dayton said in a statement. “Many of them have been delayed for years and are needed to revitalize downtown business centers, modernize college classrooms and laboratories, and improve infrastructure throughout our state.”
Dayton’s proposal calls for investing $109 million in a major restoration of the state Capitol building. It would include replacing the roof, upgrading the mechanical and electrical systems, replacing the plumbing system (first installed in 1905), improving public access, and making the building more energy efficient.
The proposal also allocates $54 million to build a new skilled nursing building for the Minnesota Veterans Affairs Department in Minneapolis. The plan emphasizes the design and construction of a new distribution and service tunnel to allow for heating, ventilating and air conditioning to be distributed, and for dietary, housekeeping and maintenance services to be able to move between buildings without disturbing residents and visitors on the campus.
The plan would also dedicate money to regional civic centers throughout Minnesota. The bill would allot $35 million for an expansion and remodeling of the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, $14.5 million for a new addition to the Mankato Civic Center, and $10.1 million for an expansion of the St. Cloud Civic Center.
Other proposed investments in the bonding bill include $14 million to double the size of the Children’s Museum in downtown St. Paul, $10 million for exhibit renewal and preservation at the Minnesota Zoo (including the snow monkey exhibit), and $7 million for preservations and renovations at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.
For the bill to pass, it would need approval in the House and Senate.