Shutdown Day 6: Construction trades call for bonding bill

A coalition of labor and environmental groups is calling on Governor Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders to end the six-day-old government shutdown with a budget deal that creates new jobs.

Members of the Blue Green Alliance said the mass layoff of public employees, as well as the idling of thousands of construction workers, is hurting Minnesota. Bob Struve of the American Council of Engineering Companies said the 150 companies he represents in Minnesota could lose 1,000 jobs in a prolonged shutdown.

“Construction is a seasonal business, and the damage caused by a long shutdown means that jobs, projects will be moved to 2012 and possibly even cancelled,” Struve said. “The damage to our firms could be very, very significant.”

As members called for an end to the shutdown, they renewed their call for Dayton and GOP legislative leaders to pass a bonding bill.

Dayton proposed a $1 billion bonding bill early in the session, but GOP leaders never supported it. Still, Harry Melander of the Minnesota State Building and Construction Trades Council said he thinks a bonding bill could be part of a final budget agreement.

“We continue to be optimistic that the Legislature will do what’s right for Minnesota,” Melander said. “And try to put tens of thousands of construction workers back to work and provide needed infrastructure repairs that need to happen to make Minnesota the state that it is.”

Neither Dayton or GOP legislative leaders have discussed a bonding bill in the final days of budget negotiations.

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