Mayo quietly seeking Plan B in fight for state money

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Earlier in the Minnesota legislative session, the Mayo Clinic unveiled one of the most ambitious private-public proposals the state has ever seen – a $6 billion, 20-year plan to improve Rochester to better accomodate Mayo growth and offer visitors more urban amenities.

There was talk of a "satisfaction gap" – visitors find Rochester lacking, Mayo officials said, at a time when Mayo aims to maintain its reputation as a global health care destination.

Mayo proposed spending $3.5 billion of its own money, attracting $2.1 billion in private investment, and using $585 million in state money to make city improvements to road, bridges and transit, for example.

Despite Mayo's power as the state's biggest private employer and its significant influence in the Legislature, the Destination Medical Center plan met with some criticism in the Capitol.

Gov. Mark Dayton called the current financing plan "almost unfeasible." Lawmakers fret about a precedent the plan would create in using sales and income taxes generated by the clinic to be used for public infrastructure, the Rochester Post Bulletin reports. And they worry about the size of the price tag hurting the state's ability to borrow money for future construction projects.

Now lawmakers are working behind the scenes with Mayo officials to cobble together a "Plan B" in the final two months of the legislative session, the Post Bulletin reports.

Lawmakers and Mayo officials are now carefully reviewing how other massive projects have been paid for in a hunt for other options, the newspaper reports.

Here's more info from Mayo about its plan.

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