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HEAPR should be priority

Published (3/2/2012)
By Bob Geiger
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Although the amount of capital investment allocations are unknown, the House Higher Education Policy and Finance Committee recommended Feb. 28 that the bulk of bonding dollars the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and the University of Minnesota do receive should go toward asset preservation and replacement.

Officials from MnSCU and the university emphasized higher education asset preservation and replacement projects in capital budget requests made before the committee in late January and early February. MnSCU’s $278.7 million capital investment request includes $110 million for HEAPR, or 39.5 percent of its total. The university’s HEAPR request of $90 million represents 43 percent of its $209.1 million capital investment request.

In his bonding proposal, Gov. Mark Dayton recommended $20 million in HEAPR for both the university and MnSCU, a number that Committee Chairman Rep. Bud Nornes (R-Fergus Falls) deemed “insufficient” saying they should be funded “at the highest amount possible.”

According to the committee, any extra money designated for higher education should then go toward project priorities that have been established by MnSCU and the university.

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