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RELEASE: House Ways and Means Committee Approves Local Jobs and Projects Proposal

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

SAINT PAUL, Minn.— Today, the House Ways and Means Committee approved the House DFL’s Local Jobs and Projects Proposal, or “bonding” legislative package. The legislation, which is a culmination of 43 committee hearings over the biennium where over 250 individual bills were heard, contains $2.524 billion in renovations, repairs, and replacement of public assets like higher education institutions, clean water infrastructure, correctional facilities, roads and bridges, parks and trails, municipal buildings and more. Over the legislative interim, the House Capital Investment Division traveled over 3,000 miles to each corner of the state to listen to Minnesotans in their hometowns to see firsthand the critical nature and importance of local and state agency bonding projects.

“Many of the projects contained in this proposal today are direct results of what we saw and heard on our statewide tours,” said Chair Mary Murphy (DFL-Hermantown). “We are responding to the emergencies of today and preparing for the needs of tomorrow.”

There were over $5.2 billion in bonding requests that went through the Minnesota Management and Budget application process alone and billions more that did not go through the process. Of these were $3.7 billion in state agency requests and $1.3 billion in direct requests from local governments.

These investments fund critical needs for communities statewide that provide clean water, repair roads and bridges, build affordable housing, enhance water quality, restore and protect natural spaces, preserves our lands, connects people to local businesses and increases tourism opportunities, provides functional space for crucial agriculture and health research, modernizes public safety facilities, delivers increased and more efficient transit options, helps address childcare shortage in Greater Minnesota, supports innovative job skills training programs for critical industries including healthcare and meat processing, provides user financed loans to farmers who might otherwise be unable to access credit, and helps kids get safety to school.

Much of the proposal contributes to the state’s COVID-19 response with included funded projects such as the U of M Clinical Health Research Facility, Lab improvements for MDA/MDH, the State Emergency Operation Center, National Guard Readiness Centers, and several community colleges across the state that offer healthcare training.

“The Local Jobs and Projects Bill invests in the things we all value in our communities, like clean water, affordable housing, safe transportation infrastructure, and preservation of our lands, history, and heritage,” said Rep. Fue Lee (DFL – Minneapolis), Vice Chair of the House Capital Investment Division. “I’m proud of the work that went into developing this package, which includes investments in a number of projects important to communities of color and indigenous communities, which haven’t always been prioritized in bonding bills. Not only does this bill invest in critical infrastructure, it creates jobs that are sorely needed right now. During the pandemic, Minnesotans deserve a path toward economic recovery and the projects in this bill will help communities emerge from this crisis together.”

A copy of the proposal can be found here. A spreadsheet of the projects included is available here.