Minn. House OKs billion-dollar public works bill

  1. Listen Minn. House OKs billion-dollar bonding bill

    May 16, 2014

Early Friday morning, the Minnesota House passed two bills that spend more than $1 billion on public works projects across the state. Later in the day they are poised to pass another round of tax cuts, as well as a bill that legalizes medical marijuana and a bill that increases spending for schools, health care and broadband.

Assuming all those bills pass, the session should end Friday.

The House took up the bonding bill at 2 a.m., roughly five hours after legislative leaders in the House and Senate cut a deal on which projects would be in the public works borrowing bill. Key among them is $126 million for the renovation of the State Capitol, $279 million for the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and $113 million for roads and bridges.

A companion bill also dedicates $200 million in cash for civic centers in Mankato, Rochester and St. Cloud and funding for the Lewis & Clark water pipeline in southwest Minnesota.

DFL Rep. Alice Hausman of St. Paul acknowledged the difficulty of negotiating a bonding bill.

“We had to accommodate House and Senate and in the last days some additional requests from House minority and of course, the governor. And every time we did it, some bills fell by the wayside,” Hausman said.

Republicans, who have spent the last several months criticizing Democrats for their spending in the bonding bill, were more muted in their critique. In fact, the biggest complaint came from lawmakers, such as Republican Representative Anna Wills of Apple Valley, who weren’t happy that their projects missed the cut.

“My concern is that projects that were further down in the ranking were included and the Dakota County Technical College was not included.”

Water pipeline gets boost

Even though several Republicans like Willis lost out, GOP legislative leaders won big.

Eight Republican votes were needed along with every Democrat in order to get to the supermajority needed to pass the bill. And Republicans used that leverage to their advantage by securing full funding for the Lewis & Clark pipeline. They convinced Democrats to pay $22 million in cash for the project, promise state aid in the tax bill and grant taxing authority to local communities to finance it in the long term.

DFL House Speaker Paul Thissen said the pipeline was the linchpin to securing a successful end to the legislative session.

“That was the thing that was the most important to the Republicans and a very important thing to the state too. So figuring out a mechanism for doing that is what got us an agreement to move these things forward,” he said.

Republicans also secured a few other commitments, key among them an agreement that Democrats drop their push to require manufacturers to disclose the presence of toxic chemicals in children’s products — a measure called the Toxic Free Kids act.

“What we agreed to do is suspend the rules to take up these things and get them done more quickly so everyone can get done and get out of here tomorrow,” Republican Senate Minority Leader David Hann. “In exchange for votes to do that, we asked for some of the bills that probably aren’t going anywhere anyway to just be set aside so nobody has to worry about them and they agreed to do that.”

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton made a last minute push to include the Toxic Free Kids act in a supplemental budget bill, but legislators eventually rejected that effort. But the budget committee did agree to accept several of Dayton’s other requests before wrapping up their work earlier Friday morning.

Education spending

DFL Sen. Dick Cohen of St. Paul said the budget bill spends roughly $260 million on early childhood and K12 education, funding for home and community based health workers and funding for rural broadband. Cohen says the budget bill will also provide debt service for the Bell Museum project.

That was a key priority for the House Capital Investment Chair but it was cut from the bonding bill in order to accept a greater number of Republican projects. Cohen said it would have been easier if Republicans would have just agreed to a larger bonding bill instead of holding to a pledge that the bonding bill be no larger than $846 million and forcing public works spending in tax and budget bills.

“We’re going through all of these somersaults in what would be a very fiscally responsible number which is clearly within Minnesota’s debt capacity to avoid right wing political talking points,” Cohen said.

House and Senate leaders appear confident that they will finish their work today, a couple days short of Monday’s constitutional deadline.

Here’s a copy of the items in the bill:

Agency / Project Title Bonding Cash


Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement (HEAPR) $42,500,000  
Minneapolis, Tate Laboratory Renovation $56,700,000  
Crookston, Wellness Center $10,000,000  
Research Laboratory Improvement Fund $8,667,000  
UMD, Chemical Sciences and Advanced Materials Building $1,500,000  
Totals $119,367,000  


Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement (HEAPR) $42,500,000  
Metropolitan State, Science Education Center $35,865,000  
Bemidji SU, building renovation, demolition and design $13,790,000  
Lake Superior College, Allied Health revitalization renovation $5,266,000  
MCTC, Workforce Program Phase 2 renovation $3,600,000  
St. Paul College, Initiatives $1,500,000  
Minnesota State College, SE Technical – Initiatives $1,700,000  
Central Lakes College, Staples, Campus Rightsizing $4,234,000  
MSU Mankato, Clinical Sciences Facility $25,818,000  
Moorhead CTC, Transportation Center $6,544,000  
Rochester CTC, Design, post-demolition $1,000,000  
Century College, Initiatives $2,020,000  
Northland CTC, TRF Aviation Maintenance Facility $5,864,000  
NHED Itasca, Hibbing, Rainy River, Vermilion, Initiatives $3,344,000  
Winona State University, Education Village $5,902,000  
St. Cloud SU Student Health & Academic renovation $865,000  
User Financing $39,104,000  
Total GO bonds $120,708,000  
Total $159,812,000  


Red Lake School $5,491,000  
Library Construction Grants $2,000,000  
Totals $7,491,000  


Asset Preservation $700,000  
New Dormitory $10,654,000  
Totals $11,354,000  


Asset Preservation $2,000,000  
Totals $2,000,000  


Asset Preservation $10,000,000  
Flood Hazard Mitigation $4,500,000 $7,500,000
Dam Repair / Reconstruction / Removal $6,500,000  
Vermillion State Park Development $14,000,000  
RIM Critical Habitat Match $2,000,000  
Fish Hatchery Improvements $2,000,000  
Reforestation and Stand Improvement $2,963,000  
Trails Acquisition and Development $17,667,000  
Central Minnesota Regional Parks $500,000  
Fort Snelling Upper Post, Paths $500,000  
Red River Recreation Area $250,000  
Fountain Lake Restoration   $7,500,000
Lake Zumbro Reclamation $500,000  
Grant County Trail – Elbow Lake to Pomme de Terre Lake $100,000  
Buildings and Facilities Development $2,000,000  
Totals $63,480,000 $15,000,000


Agriculture Lab Sample Storage Room $203,000  
Aitkin County Fairground Food Services Building   $325,000
Totals $203,000 $325,000


Capital Assistance Program $2,625,000  
Totals $2,625,000  


Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) $6,000,000  
Local Government Roads Wetlands Replacement Program $2,000,000  
Totals $8,000,000  


Asset Preservation / Exhibit Renovation $7,000,000  
Heart of the Zoo II $5,000,000  
Totals $12,000,000  


Continue State Capitol Restoration $126,300,000  
Statewide CAPRA   $1,000,000
Hmong Lao Vets Memorial $450,000  
Workers Memorial $250,000  
Totals $127,000,000 $1,000,000


SW Regional Sports Center $4,298,000  
NSC Tournament Fields Complex, Blaine $3,200,000  
Asset Preservation – NSC, Blaine $475,000  
Mighty Ducks Air Quality Grants   $1,500,000
Totals $7,973,000 $1,500,000


Asset Preservation $2,000,000  
Brooklyn Park Addition/Renovation $1,244,000  
Totals $3,244,000  


Cottage Grove – Regional Public Safety Training Center $1,460,000  
Maplewood – East Metro Public Safety Training Center $1,650,000  
Montgomery – Public Safety Facility $220,000  
St. Louis County Sheriff’s Rescue and Storage Facility $700,000  
Cyrus Public Safety Building   $225,000
Totals $4,030,000 $225,000


Local Bridge Replacement Program $12,257,000 $20,743,000
Local Road Improvement Fund Grants $24,356,000 $30,000,000
Greater Minnesota Transit $1,500,000  
Highway Rail Grade Crossing $2,000,000  
Willmar Headquarters Supplemental Funding $4,370,000  
Little Falls Trunk Station Supplemental Funding $3,580,000  
Safe Routes to School   $1,000,000
Range Regional Airport $5,000,000  
International Falls – Airline Terminal Expansion $2,200,000  
Port Development Assistance $2,000,000  
Total GO or GF $49,313,000 $51,743,000
Total Trunk Highway Fund $7,950,000  
Totals $57,263,000 $51,743,000


Transit Capital Improvement Program $15,000,000  
Metropolitan Regional Parks $4,000,000  
Inflow and Infiltration $2,000,000  
IGH, Heritage Village Park $2,000,000  
Springbrook Nature Center $5,000,000  
Minneapolis, Sculpture Garden Drainage Control $8,500,000  
St. Paul – Como Regional Park Access $5,400,000  
Maplewood – Fish Creek Trail $318,000  
Oakdale – Mud Lake Trail and Boardwalk – ADA $150,000  
Washington County – Hastings Bridge Trail Connection $1,600,000  
West St. Paul; North Urban Regional Trail Bridge $2,000,000  
Totals $45,968,000  


MN Security Hospital – Design, Construct, Remodel $56,317,000  
MSOP (St. Peter) – Design, Remodel/Construct $7,405,000  
System-wide Asset Preservation $3,000,000  
Early Childhood Learning Facilities $6,000,000  
Harriet Tubman Center East, Maplewood $720,000  
St. David’s Center, Hennepin County $3,750,000  
St. Louis County – Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency $3,000,000  
St. Paul – Dorothy Day Center $6,000,000  
Remembering with Dignity $195,000  
Totals $86,387,000  


Asset Preservation $2,000,000  
Minneapolis Deep Tunnel $700,000  
North St. Paul Veterans Memorial $100,000  
Edina Veterans Memorial   $225,000
Totals $2,800,000 $225,000


Asset Preservation $5,500,000  
Shakopee Perimeter Fence $5,381,000  
Northeast Regional Corrections Center $1,000,000  
St. Cloud New Intake Health Services   $18,000,000
Totals $11,881,000 $18,000,000


Innovative Business Development Infrastructure   $500,000
Greater MN Business Development Public Infrastructure Grants $4,000,000  
Alexandria – High School Redevelopment $1,400,000  
Clara City – South Hawk Creek Business Development $748,000  
Chatfield EDA – Chatfield Center for the Arts $5,352,000  
Cosmos – Community Center $600,000  
Duluth, Duluth EDA – NorShor Theatre Historic Renovation   $6,950,000
Duluth, Spirit Mountain Recreation Area Authority – Water System   $3,400,000
Duluth – Wade Stadium   $2,300,000
Fosston – 2nd Street Road Improvements $400,000  
Grand Rapids – Grand Rapids Regional Performing Arts $3,897,000  
Hanover – Historic Bridge $78,000  
Hermantown – Regional Health Study   $250,000
Lake Elmo – Water Project $3,500,000  
Lake Superior-Poplar River Water District   $1,110,000
Litchfield – Electric Project Predesign and Design 250,000  
Mankato – MN State Arena & Auditorium Expansion   $14,500,000
Minneapolis – Brian Coyle Center $330,000  
Minneapolis – Hennepin Center for the Arts $550,000  
Minneapolis – Nicollet Mall $21,500,000  
Park Rapids – Upper Mississippi Arts Center $2,500,000  
Red Wing – River Town Renaissance $1,560,000  
Rochester – Mayo Civic Center Expansion   $35,000,000
Sandstone – Business Park   $200,000
St. Cloud – River’s Edge Convention Center Expansion   $11,560,000
St. Paul – Minnesota Children’s Museum Expansion and Renovation $6,515,000 $7,485,000
St. Paul – Historic Palace Theater Renovation $5,000,000  
St. Paul – Ordway $4,000,000  
St. Paul – Minnesota Public Media Commons $9,000,000  
Thief River Falls – Airport Ponds $650,000  
Thief River Falls – Public Infrastructure $800,000  
Virginia – Highway 53 Utilities Reroute $19,500,000  
Totals $92,130,000 $83,255,000


State Matching Funds for USEPA Capitalization Grants $12,000,000  
Wastewater Infrastructure Fund $18,333,000  
Big Lake Area Sanitary District $4,500,000  
Rice Lake – Water Main Replacement $1,168,000  
Truman – Storm Water $1,425,000  
Voyageurs Clean Water Project $8,567,000  
Lewis & Clark Joint Powers Board – Regional Water System   $22,000,000
Oslo – Water mains, Sewers Study   $275,000
Totals $45,993,000 $22,275,000


Public Housing Rehabilitation $20,000,000  
Housing Infrastructure Appropriations Bonds   $80,000,000
Totals $20,000,000 $80,000,000


Oliver Kelley Farm Historic Site Visitor Center $10,562,000  
Historic Sites Asset Preservation $1,440,000  
County & Local Historic Preservation Grants   $1,400,000
Totals $12,002,000 $1,400,000


Giant’s Ridge Event Center   $3,800,000
Totals   $3,800,000


Estimated Bond Sale Expenses (Estimate) $900,000  
Totals $900,000  


General Obligation (excludes TF and MES) (GO) $814,745,000  
User Financing (UF) $39,104,000  
Transportation Fund (TF) (Part of General Fund) $36,613,000  
Maximum Effort School Loan (MSE) (GF Supported) $5,491,000  
General Fund (non-debt service)   $198,748,000
Tunk Highway Fund $7,950,000  
MHFA Bonding   $80,000,000
Cancellations $10,849,000  
Total $895,953,000 $278,748,000
Principal Amount used for Bond Sale $895,953,000  
Bond Sale Authorization $853,849,000  
New GO Bonds, GF Supported debt $856,849,000  
General Obligation Bond Cancellations $10,849,000  
Total GO Impact $846,000,000