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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Tama Theis (R)

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House Approves Bonding Bill with Local Projects for St. Cloud and Waite Park

Monday, May 14, 2018

ST. PAUL – Three main St. Cloud-area projects are among provisions in a capital investment package featuring $825 million in general obligation bonds, approved by the Minnesota House on Monday.

The local project list includes:

  • $4.5 million for renovating the St. Cloud Armory
  • $18 million for renovations at the St. Cloud Prison
  • $5 million for the quarry amphitheater in Waite Park

“Our House Bonding bill is focused on the shared priorities of Minnesotans, and greatly benefits our part of the state,” said Rep. Tama Theis, R-St. Cloud. “I have been a strong advocate for the Waite Park Amphitheater project, having authored the bill for the funding, and know it will be a significant boost for our area. Additionally, I’ve also seen firsthand the great need for updates to our National Guard Readiness Center. These are critical local projects for our community, and I hope we can get these projects to the finish line this session.”

More than two-thirds of the bonding is dedicated to brick-and-mortar projects, such as roads and bridges, water infrastructure and statewide asset preservation. The bill also features a component to use excess reserves from the Vikings stadium account to fund construction of veterans homes in Bemidji, Montevideo and Preston.

The bonding portion of the bill includes:

  • $364 million for asset preservation such as state-owned buildings
  • $120 million for road and transportation infrastructure
  • $153 million for water and conservation projects
  • $188 million for “other” projects, such as:
    • $25 million for school safety
    • $25 million for mental health centers

With funding such as trunk highway bonds included, the bill provides an additional $254 million for transportation, another $10 million for water/conservation and $127 million in other funding for a total of $1.2 billion.

The bill provides $26 million in funding for the construction of veterans homes in Preston, Bemidji, and Montevideo through the same funding mechanism proposed in the House’s omnibus state government finance package. The reserve account for the Vikings stadium is running an excess, expected to reach $58 million by the end of the current biennium and grow to $120.2 million at the end of next biennium. This bill would allocate a portion of that funding for constructing veterans homes in each of the aforementioned cities.