What's in Gov. Walz's $1.27B infrastructure plan? - Bring Me The News

What's in Gov. Walz's $1.27B infrastructure plan?

The projects are spread out across the state.
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A week after announcing his first budget proposal, Gov. Tim Walz released a list of projects he wants completed as part of a $1.27 billion infrastructure bill.

The wide-ranging bill covers all manner of new-build, improvement and maintenance projects, of which 22 percent are in greater Minnesota, 27 percent are in the Twin Cities, while the rest have "impacts statewide."

Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan said the proposals are aimed at the "Minnesota of tomorrow," adding: "That means making long-term investments that tackle the needs of Minnesota while promoting growth."

Here's a look at some of the key projects we've picked out from the bonding bill, more details of which you can find here.

Roads, bridges, railways

– $100 million for the "Local Road Improvement Program" that focuses on rural road safety, "routes of regional significance" and trunk highway improvements.

– $100 million for the Local Bridge Replacement Program, and $10 million for a grant program allowing school districts to pay for projects to improve walking and biking routes for students.

– A further $52 million for a rail grade crossing separation project in Moorhead.

More train, bus services

– Walz is proposing $20 million for the D-line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project that would run from Brooklyn Center, along Chicago-Emerson-Freemont avenues in Minneapolis to the Mall of America.

– A further $11 million is earmarked to leverage federal funds that can be used to develop "passenger rail corridors" such as the Northern Lights Express in Duluth, and potentially provide a second daily Amtrak train between St. Paul and Chicago.

Money for the Minnesota Zoo

– The $25 million Walz is earmarking for the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley includes $21 million to turn the defunct monorail line into a "1.3 mile treetop walk through natural habitats," as well as improving accessibility and modernizing the zoo's animal hospital.

Prison improvements

– There is a $600 million backlog in deferred maintenance at Minnesota's correctional facilities, and Walz is recommending $20 million be put towards correcting safety hazards, preserving buildings and making mechanical or electrical upgrades.

– Another $7.5 million is being proposed to renovate a center for offenders with serious mental illness in Lino Lakes, as well as $2.7 million for secure fencing in St. Cloud, and $1.8 million for improved visitor and staff facilities in Red Wing.

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Higher education

– $300 million split between Minnesota State and the U of M for improvement projects.

– The Minnesota State portion would fund 70 building improvement projects across 40 campuses.

– The University of Minnesota portion would see renovations and preservation work on its Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Rochester campuses.

– Another $28 million is requested to finish work on the Institute of Child Development facility for the University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development.

$150 million for affordable housing

– This would be used to preserve existing affordable housing and create new homes "in all areas of the state." It will feature a mixture of housing options, including "supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness, senior housing, family housing, and new homeownership opportunities."

– A further $10 million is proposed to renew and improve veterans homes in Hastings, Minneapolis, Silver Bay, Luverne, and Fergus Falls.

Suburban recycling expansion

– The cities of Moorhead, Brooklyn Park and Coon Rapids would receive $15.3 million in grants to expand their recycling and organics composting facilities to keep reduce waste at landfills.

– Around $67 million would be used as low-interest loans to cities and local governments so they can replace their aging water infrastructure.

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