St. Paul, MN - This evening, the House Capital Investment Committee released their proposal for the 2021 Capital Investment Bill. In addition to the traditional capital investment focus on items like higher education facilities, asset preservation, water infrastructure, and roads and bridges, the committee also held extensive hearings on a multitude of projects through the lens of equity, climate impact, and affordable housing. The bill will have its first official walk-through tomorrow at 1pm.
“Since our first hearing this session, the goal of this committee was to not only craft a capital investment bill that helps our state bounce back from the hardships of the past year, but to also invest in the peoples and issues too often overlooked when it comes to capital projects,” said Rep. Fue Lee (DFL - Minneapolis) chair of the House Capital Investment Committee. “This capital investment bill will take care of what we have, address the challenges we currently face, and build a better, more inclusive and sustainable future.”
Building off of the success of the equity components in the 2020 Jobs & Local Projects and Critical Economic Development Bill, this legislation invests nearly $15 million in projects that support Black, Indigenous, and communities of color throughout the state. Among other equity-focused projects, the bill’s investments include clinics, food banks, and centers dedicated to economic development, the arts, and youth mental health and wellness.
“Last year's bonding bill made historic investments in our communities, but the needs are still great across our state,” said House Speaker Melissa Hortman. “As we work to get the state's post-COVID19 economy moving, this is an important time to continue investing in our infrastructure and our communities. The Capital Investment Committee has drafted a bill that will move equity-focused projects forward, take steps to address climate change, help ensure Minnesotans have access to affordable housing, and create good-paying jobs so that we emerge from this pandemic as a stronger, more inclusive Minnesota. I'm grateful to Chair Fue Lee and the members of the committee for their hard work and for producing a bill that will serve all of Minnesota.”
Though Minnesota is a leader in greenhouse gas emission reductions, the state has failed to meet recent targets. The investments in this bill would help put Minnesota back on track, in addition to promoting clean water and air. Over $53 million in General Obligation Bonds are dedicated to the Department of Natural Resources, including reforestation and improvements to state Scientific and Natural Areas. $15 million will go toward Minnesota’s water infrastructure, and over $14 million to the Board of Water and Soil Resources’ Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program.
“Minnesota has the resources and talent to build a state that meets the changing needs of the 21st century,” said Majority Leader Ryan Winkler. “To help workers and their families get ahead, there needs to be a predictable and sustainable churn of investments in jobs and local projects. The men and women who build our state work hard, put in long hours, and can meet the moment we’re in. For too long, Minnesota has put tax cuts for the rich and well-connected ahead of investments in workers and jobs, especially those that benefit people of color. This must change.”
This past year has shown that a safe and secure place to call home was not only crucial for individuals, but for the greater public health as Minnesotans were asked to stay home to help slow the spread of COVID-19. This bill would provide short and long term solutions to help Minnesotans facing housing insecurity by investing $50 million in one-time appropriation bonds for emergency shelter facilities, $150 million in Housing Infrastructure Bonds for affordable housing statewide, and $100 million General Obligation Bonds for public housing rehabilitation.
“State asset preservation, including our state agency infrastructure, has been set aside for far too long,” said Rep. Mary Murphy (DFL- Hermantown), vice chair of the House Capital Investment Committee. “Our bill aims to meet Minnesota’s infrastructure needs now, while also prioritizing long-term investments for the future in higher education facilities, asset preservation, water infrastructure, and roads and bridges.”