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With clock ticking, bonding chairs lay out $330 million list of proposed local projects

Rep. Fue Lee and Sen. Sandra Pappas chat before convening a joint hearing of the House and Senate Capital Investment committees May 14. (Photo by Michele Jokinen)
Rep. Fue Lee and Sen. Sandra Pappas chat before convening a joint hearing of the House and Senate Capital Investment committees May 14. (Photo by Michele Jokinen)

Is it GO or no-go?

That’s the perennial question about capital investment with a 60% supermajority required to pass a bill funding projects with general obligation bonds. It often gets tangled with end-of-session politics.

So it is in the final week of 2024, with a target for capital investment still being negotiated by House and Senate leaders.

Joint Meeting: Committee on Capital Investment; House Committee on Capital Investment (Video courtesy Minnesota Senate Media Services)

In the meantime, a proposal was put forward Tuesday for $330 million in capital investment spending for local projects such as wastewater treatment plants, trail reconstruction, wellness centers and courthouses. The list was unveiled at a joint meeting of the House and Senate Capital Investment committees. No action was taken.

[MORE: View the spreadsheet]

Included in the proposal is:

  • $115.3 million for 30 public works projects, such as improvements to water towers, sewers and water mains;
  • $99.34 million for 33 local economic development projects, such as a health center in Mahnomen, expanding the Runestone Community Center in Alexandria and improving accessibility at Gibbs Farm in Ramsey County;
  • $47.9 million for the Department of Transportation to provide grants for 18 local projects, including $13.1 million for the Nicollet Avenue Bridge project over Minnehaha Creek in Minneapolis;
  • $19.5 million for the Pollution Control Agency;
  • $18.3 million for the Department of Public Safety, including $5 million for law enforcement and government facilities in Lake of the Woods County;
  • $15.45 million for the Metropolitan Council for three projects in St. Paul, and one each in Minneapolis and West. St. Paul;
  • $7.44 million to expand treatment and programming space at the Lino Lakes prison; and
  • $6 million for the Department of Natural Resources, with $2 million to continue a flood mitigation project in Moorhead.  

The list is imperfect, said Rep. Liz Reyer (DFL-Eagan), but it is a framework.

Typically the majority and minority parties in each chamber put forth spending priorities for a quarter of the appropriation for local projects. However, Sen. Karin Housley (R-Stillwater) said Senate Republicans will not show their hand until a decision is made on a final spending target.

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