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Governor seeks $1.3 billion for capital projects

Gov. Tim Walz on Tuesday proposed a $1.27 billion bonding package to fund community infrastructure projects around the state.

The proposal focuses most heavily on transportation and education but addresses a number of other areas as well.

The governor said in a statement the bonding package, which he previewed in his Feb. 19 budget proposal, meets needs across the state, with 22 percent of the projects to take place in Greater Minnesota, 27 percent in the Twin Cities metropolitan area and 51 percent that have statewide impact.

“Our proposal increases economic opportunity for all and strengthens local economies by providing grants to communities across the state and working to build infrastructure for the future,” Walz said. “In keeping with our commitment to strong fiscal management, we made sure our proposal protects the state’s financial standing while making critical investments in our future."

The governor’s bonding proposal includes:

  • $345 million for transportation and transit;
  • $300 million for higher education;
  • $217 million for agriculture, environment and natural resources;
  • $150 million for housing;
  • $103 million for water and climate;
  • $57 million for public safety and corrections;
  • $53 million for other projects;
  • $24 million for economic development; and
  • $23 million for military and veterans.

Walz faces an uphill battle for his proposal to become law.

The Legislature has typically focused on bonding during the second, even-numbered, year of its biennium, although that pattern hasn’t always held in recent years.

Republican lawmakers have already questioned the need for a bonding bill this session and, because bonding requires a two-thirds majority to pass the House and Senate, Walz will need bipartisan support if his proposal is to become a reality.

Rep. Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington) said during Monday’s House Ways and Means Committee meeting there will not be a bonding bill this year.

Rep. Dean Urdahl (R-Grove City), who serves as the minority lead on the House Capital Investment Division, wasn’t as closed to the idea, saying in a statement that bonding will not be Republicans’ top priority this year.

“This year our focus will be on setting a new two-year state budget," Urdahl said. “I look forward to working with House Democrats and the governor to see if we are able to put together a plan that is capable of generating the super majority 81 votes that is necessary to pass a bonding bill this biennium.”

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