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Dayton's bonding proposal includes full funding for UMN

Dayton's bonding proposal includes full funding for UMN

Gov. Mark Dayton might support borrowing more than $2.3 billion for public works projects this year, his last in elective office.

In his statement, Dayton said his plan will help invest in the state's future, adding that underinvestment in past years has "shortchanged" higher education. "Governor Dayton's $1.5 billion public works bill remains well within the state's $3.5 billion in available bonding capacity".

Dayton's proposal also would fund iconic local projects like $4 million in renovations to Duluth's Glensheen Mansion and $13 million to fix the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis.

But Dayton's proposal will likely face pushback from Republicans who control the Legislature.

Commissioner Myron Frans of Minnesota Management and Budget said about $3 billion in public works funding requests were given to the Dayton administration.

Budget Commissioner Myron Frans admits the borrowing request is large, but they believe it would create almost 23,000 jobs. The measure would fund 218 "urgently needed" projects across the state, he said. "By contrast, the governor's proposal fails to include any of the critical local infrastructure projects that are critical to any bonding bill's success". $112 million went to statewide asset preservation, and $212 million went to state colleges and universities.

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The University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State college system would be the big winners under Dayton's proposal. Frans said that while bond interest rates are higher than a year ago, Minnesota still can get very good rates.

The bill has two large projects for Beltrami County: $14.8 million for new classrooms and renovations at the Red Lake School and $15 million for a new academic building at Bemidji State University.

At the U of M's Twin Cities campus, $24 million would renovate the historic Pillsbury Hall.

$20 million to update the Minnesota Agriculture and Health departments' laboratories.

Dave Smiglewski, president of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities and the mayor of Graine Falls, said "It is promising to see that Governor Dayton's bonding proposal includes $167 million for clean water infrastructure programs".


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