ST. PAUL – A number of provisions related to area projects are included in an $800 million capital investment package the Minnesota House put forward Wednesday.
Maybe the most notable item is actually not a new spending appropriation, rather language which extends by two years a previous grant to assist Fergus Falls in repurposing the former state hospital property in town. The House bill provides the city with extra time to conduct its work in redeveloping the property and complete related infrastructure work.
"This extension would be really appreciated and help give the city more time to work on this project," said Rep. Bud Nornes, R-Fergus Falls. "Some very important questions remain unanswered as local officials work toward a solution with this property and additional time will allow due diligence to occur in making important decisions."
The House's bonding bill also includes $500,000 for work on a Pelican Rapids dam and provides funding for facilities work at two area Minnesota State Community and Technical College campuses. A nearly $1 million appropriation would allow Fergus Falls to better serve its students by moving the state workforce center closer to campus. An $820,0000 appropriation is for library and student development renovation in Wadena.
The top provisions in the House's bonding package focus on local roads and bridges ($227 million), higher education ($137 million, mainly for asset preservation), and water infrastructure ($130 million).
Gov. Mark Dayton and the Senate both have proposed bonding bills in the range of $1.5 billion. The three sides will work to find agreement on a final package before the Legislature is set to adjourn May 23.