ST. PAUL – The Minnesota House of Representatives on Monday passed a Capital Investment bill that will not only create jobs for hard-working Minnesotans, but also invests heavily in the north metro area.
The Capital Investments bill funds repairs to the Coon Rapids Dam, renovations to higher education facilities and the construction of a Foley Boulevard Northstar transit station. Rep. Melissa Hortman (DFL – Brooklyn Park) said the bill will create construction jobs in the short term while improving the long-term economic viability of the region.
“This bill is expected to create 10,000 or more jobs once the spring construction season begins," Hortman said. “It will get Minnesotans back to work and help them provide for their families.”
The Capital Investment bill emphasizes higher education, transportation, parks and trails and clean water infrastructure, assets Hortman said will be important as Minnesota climbs out from a deep recession.”
“The reason there are more Fortune 500 companies per capita in this state than any other is our world class workforce, but that won’t be the case unless we invest in higher education,” Hortman said. “The workforce of tomorrow needs high quality education opportunities.”
Hortman said another way the state can create economic strength in both the short- and long-term is through improved transportation infrastructure. The House version of the bill includes $1 million to leverage federal funds to begin design and engineering to extend the Northstar Commuter Rail to St. Cloud. In addition, funding would be directed from the Metropolitan Council for design, engineering and construction of a Northstar Commuter Rail station on Foley Boulevard.
“I have been a strong advocate for a 21st century transportation system that would revitalize the north metro area,” Hortman said. “We have made great strides with the construction of Highway 610 and the grand opening of Northstar Commuter Rail. The Foley Boulevard station is one more important step toward a transportation system that better serves the needs of the north metro area.”
In addition to the Northstar Commuter Rail investment, the House bill also funds several other projects that will benefit the north metro area.
• $2 million to repair the Coon Rapids Dam.
• $26.6 million to create additional lab and classroom space at North Hennepin Community College.
• $14.8 million to renovate underused space at North Hennepin Community College into functional classroom space.
• $10.6 million would be used to renovate libraries at Hennepin Technical College campuses in Brooklyn Park and Eden Prairie.
Along with the Capital Investment bill, the House is looking at several initiatives to create jobs and support small businesses, including a bill to improve access to credit, reduce unnecessary or duplicative regulations, broaden access to technology, and help reduce energy costs.