ST. PAUL – The Minnesota House of Representatives Tuesday passed the 2005 bonding bill to provide more than $800 million worth of state infrastructure improvements. State Representative Dean Urdahl, R-Grove City, expressed support for the bill, calling it “a good bipartisan bill to address our immediate needs.”
Rep. Urdahl said the bill includes $3 million for state park land acquisition and $4.8 million for regional park acquisition, which should be more than enough for the Lake Koronis regional park.
More than one-fourth of the bill’s proposed spending ($244 out of $816 million) goes to improvements and repairs at the University of Minnesota and throughout the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system. Another $68.5 million is earmarked for local bridge and road improvement projects.
“We’ve also made an effort to improve the environment with this bill,” Rep. Urdahl said. “We matched the governor’s $23 million CREP request and funded a wetland replacement program,” he added.
The bill passed with 121 votes in favor and only 12 against, making it one of the most bipartisan bills to pass this session. Rep. Urdahl said the broad show of support is an example of the general atmosphere at the capitol this year being “more cooperative with people willing to work across party lines to get results.”
The bill now heads to conference committee for reconciliation with the Senate’s bonding bill, which was considerably more expensive than the House version. Once both bodies agree on the same bill, it will go to Governor Pawlenty for his approval.
HOUSE BONDING BILL OVERVIEW
The bonding bill spends $816,749,000. It supports the proposed spending target by Governor Pawlenty and is almost $200 million less than the Minnesota Senate.
Major capital budget areas:
Provides more than $243 million for higher education institutions, and more than Governor Pawlenty proposed for MnSCU campus projects. Many projects are ready to go with a commitment by the Minnesota Legislature. Included are:
? $9.65 million for an academic building at Anoka-Ramsey Community College
? $10.2 million for Winona Pasteur Hall science facility
? $12.9 million for St. Cloud Tech Workforce Center
LOCAL ROADS & BRIDGES
Provides more than $70 million to fund local road and bridge projects throughout the state. Included are:
? $50 million for local bridge replacement and rehabilitation
? $6 million for local share of Trunk Highway projects
? $18.5 million for local road improvement grants
Funds buses and the Northstar, Central Corridor Transit and Cedar Avenue Bus Rapid Transit. Included area:
? $10 million for Cedar Avenue Bus Rapid transit
? $500,000 to match federal money to plan for the Rush Line Corridor Bus way from St. Paul to Hinckley
More than $119 million to fund Minnesota Department of Natural Resources projects, flood mitigation, Conservation Reserve and Enhancement Program (CREP), trails and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Included are:
? $21 million for flood mitigation grants
? $12 million for RIM Wildlife Area Acquisition
More than $123 million to fund expansion of Minnesota Department of Corrections prison facilities. Funding is also provided to house/incarcerate elderly sex offenders and for the sex offender facility in St. Peter. Included:
? $84.8 million for Minnesota Correction Facility - Faribault expansion
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT & INFRASTRUCTURE
More than $100 million for economic development projects for local communities, including the Wastewater Infrastructure Fund (WIF) that provides loans and grants for local water and sewer projects. Included are:
? $20 million for University of Minnesota /Mayo Biotech facility
? $14.3 million for EPA Drinking Water/Wastewater
? $20 million redevelopment grants; of that, $5 million for Sears Redevelopment project in Minneapolis