Gov. Tim Walz has unveiled his $518 million bonding proposal for public projects across the state of Minnesota.
Walz announced his "2021 Local Jobs and Projects Plan" on Monday, which would invest more than $518 million in public infrastructure projects across the state, including maintaining existing buildings, investing in communities and ensuring the state can leverage federal funds.
Walz says nearly half the plan will support asset preservation projects at state agencies and places of higher education.
Using his home in Mankato as an example, he said his bonding bill focuses on "repairing a leaky pipe before it leads to water damage," prioritizing the upkeep of Minnesota's existing infrastructure and assets.
The proposal would use $240 million in general obligation bonds, $250 million in appropriation bonds and $28.3 million in general fund money to pay for the projects.
Here's a full list of all the projects Walz is proposing. Among them:
- $150 million in redevelopment appropriation bonds to support rebuilding efforts in Minneapolis and St. Paul following the civil unrest last summer.
- $100 million in Housing Infrastructure Bonds to preserve and build new housing opportunities across the state.
- $62.422 million to replace and repair buildings across the Minnesota State system.
- $43 million for security upgrades at the Minnesota State Capitol Complex as recommended in the 2021 Advisory Committee on Capitol Area Security Annual Report.
- $15 million to support capital projects from community-based organizations that are led by and serve communities of color and Native Americans.
- $10 million for a second daily Amtrack train between the Twin Cities, Milwaukee and Chicago, among other things. (The Federal Railroad Administration has awarded a $31.8 million Consolidated Railroad Infrastructure and Safety Initiative grant and a $12.6 million Restoration and Enhancement grant for this project.)
- $4.5 million for a new State Veterans Cemetery in Redwood Falls. (The Veteran's Affairs National Cemetery Administration's Veterans Cemetery Grant Program will provide a $5.99 million federal grant for this project.)
Typically, the Minnesota Legislature passes a bonding bill like this in even-numbered years, with odd-numbered years reserved for passing a two-year budget.
Back in October, the Minnesota Legislature approved a $1.9 billion capital projects package, marking the largest borrowing package in history. Walz and other state officials have argued it's important to pass a bonding bill every year to employ construction workers and to upkeep roads and buildings, the Star Tribune explains.
“The 2021 Local Jobs and Projects Plan ensures our students are learning in safe and sufficient facilities, makes critical investments in our communities across the state, and allows us to leverage time-sensitive federal grant funds,” Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan said in a statement. “At a time when our communities need investment and our workers need jobs, this plan delivers.”