What projects are getting funded in the public works bill passed by the Legislature?

The bill features up to $1.43 billion in borrowing for construction projects.
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Glensheen Mansion

While much of the focus has been on Gov. Mark Dayton's threats to veto tax conformity and omnibus spending proposals, there's a chance he could still sign off on the public works bill passed by the Legislature on Sunday. 

After an earlier, $825 million version was rejected by the Senate thanks to the objections of Democrats last week – who said it wasn't enough – Minnesota lawmakers worked together to come up with a compromise as the session came to a close.

The bill still includes $825 million of "general obligation" bonding loans to fund dozens of construction projects, as well as commitments for a further $600 million in appropriations from other sources, including trunk highway bonding.

You can see the full list of projects that will be funded as a result of the bill here, while we've picked out a few highlights.

U of M, state colleges, Glensheen – $208 million

The University of Minnesota is getting $79.4 million for various projects at its campuses, including $24 million to renovate Pillsbury Hall in Minneapolis, and $4 million for the preservation of Glensheen Mansion in Duluth.

There's also $129 million in projects for Minnesota State colleges, including $22.5 million to renovate the Academic Learning Center at Bemidji State, and $12.8 million for classroom and student services renovations at Normandale Community College.

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School safety – $25 million

The capital spending bill included $25 million to improve school safety features at elementary and high schools around the state, amid concern following recent mass school shootings.

Minnesota DNR – $78.6 million

More than half of this money, $46.5 million, will go toward preserving DNR assets and implementing flood hazard mitigation.

There will be $6 million for the improvement of DNR buildings and money for a number of improvements to State Trails including $4 million at Lake Vermillion/Soudan State Park, $750,000 for Glendalough State Park and $2.5 million for a trail at Chester Woods.

$3 million is earmarked for reforestation and stand improvement on state forest lands, meanwhile.

Transportation, roads, Stone Arch Bridge – $543 million

Threatened by closure unless money was found for repairs, the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis was given $1 million that should keep it open for now, though it needs $12 million for long-term repairs.

It's part of a massive budget for roads projects that includes the $400 million for the four previously identified "Corridors of Commerce" projects, which includes improvements to the I-494 and I-35 interchange in the southern Twin Cities.

Smaller projects approved include $15 million for improvements to the Hwy. 10 Thurston Boulevard Interchange in Anoka County, $13.5 million for the Brockton Interchange in Dayton and $9 million for the Hwy. 101 realignment in Carver County.

Some Democrats however were unhappy that the transportation section feature no improvements to public transit.

Mental health, veterans centers

There will be $28 million to build six mental health crisis centers in Minnesota, as well as a further $30 million for supportive housing for those with behavioral health needs.

Meanwhile, $32 million of funding was approved to build new veterans’ homes in Bemidji, Montevideo and Preston.

City projects, attractions

Lake Superior Zoo is getting $1.9 million for new brown bear and large cat exhibits, while Duluth is also getting $6.9 million for the removal of 100-year-old steam pipes as part of its Superior Street reconstruction.

In St. Paul, the city didn't get the $58 million it wanted for its RiverCentre Ramp rebuilding, but it did get a $5 million downpayment on the project for future years.

The Minnesota Historical Society will get $15 million to construct a new visitor center at Fort Snelling, while the Minnesota Children's Theatre will get $1 million towards the renovation of its 42-year-old building.

Austin's regional public TV station, KSMQ, will get $2.5 million to build its own facility, while Rice Lake is $359,000 for water mains replacement, and the Minnesota Museum of Modern American Art will get $2.5 million for its continued expansion.

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