House GOP focuses on asset preservation in $280m bonding bill plan

House Republicans are putting forward a $280 million public works bill that focuses mostly on asset preservation at the state’s higher education institutions, correctional facilities and local road and bridge improvement. The proposal is less than half the size of what Gov. Dayton outlined in his bonding bill proposal.

Update: The House GOP is also moving a separate bonding bill that focuses on restoring the Capitol. The plan borrows $220 million. That bill is being heard on Tuesday.

The House GOP proposal, put forward by House Capital Investment Chair Larry Howes of Walker, dedicates $35 million in bonding for asset preservation at the University of Minnesota and $20 million for asset preservation for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. The plan also dedicates $33 million for Rural Finance Authority grants, $20 million for local bridge replacement and rehab, $10 million for local road improvement.

Dayton has been pushing for $775 million in borrowing to help boost the state’s construction sector. Some Republicans have argued that the state shouldn’t borrow too much in light of the recent economic downturn but Dayton compared the bonding bill to a family mortgaging a house.

Some big-ticket items have been left out of the House Republican plan. The plan does not include money for the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, the Mankato Civic Center and upgrades to the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter.

House Republicans also dedicate $1 million in borrowing to the St. Cloud Civic Center (Dayton proposed $10 million), $2 million for the St. Paul Saints ballpark in St. Paul (Dayton proposed $27 million) and $2 million for the State Emergency Operations Center in Arden Hills (Dayton proposed $26 million).

The House Capital Investment Committee will hold its first hearing on the bill on Tuesday Wednesday. It may face stiff DFL opposition considering DFL House Minority Leader Paul Thissen characterized the proposal on Twitter as the “Tea Party Express strikes again.” Democrats have argued for a larger bonding bill. Republicans need to garner 81 votes in the House to get the bonding bill passed since it needs a three-fifths majority to pass each chamber.

Senate Republicans have yet to release their proposal.

Here are some of the highlights of the House GOP plan:

$35 m for HEAPR at the U of M

$20 million for HEAPR at MnSCU

$13.8 million for the Ridgewater College, Willmar- Technical Instruction Lab Renovation

$33 million for Rural Finance Authority Grants

$20 million for local bridge replacement and rehab

$10 million for local road improvement

$10 million in asset preservation at Department of Corrections

$9 million for The Hormel Institute in Austin

$12 million for the St. Paul Children’s Museum

$20 million for the Wastewater Infrastructure Funding program

$10 million for foreclosure remediation

Here’s the full proposal:

House Bonding Bill March 19

  • John O.

    I’m almost–ALMOST–of a mind to suggest that they just drop the bonding proposal for this year.

    They seem to have a hard time garnering at least 81 votes to agree on what day of the week it is.