Lawmakers Reactions Mixed to Governor's $750M Bonding Proposal

By KBJR News 1

April 8, 2013 Updated Apr 8, 2013 at 11:21 PM CDT

St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Northland lawmakers are delivering mixed reaction on Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton's proposed bonding bill that promises to put 21 thousand Minnesotans to work.

The proposal includes $750 million dollars in Capital investments.

Missing from the Governor’s recommendation is $3.4 million dollars for Spirit Mountain.

It's a Surprising move, according to Senator Roger Reinert (DFL-Duluth), who says this is the third time they've requested money to no avail.

This is a typically a non-bonding year but that doesn't mean other projects aren't getting a major helping hand.

Under the proposal, the Historic NorShor Theatre would get $4.95 million dollars.

The money would fund the design and renovation of the theater, but would not be made available until an equal amount has been committed from non-state sources.

Wade Stadium in West Duluth would receive the originally proposed $200 thousand dollars and not the city requested $5.7 million.

Sen. Reinert pushed for that full amount last week during a committee hearing to help fix the aging stadium.

Rep. Erik Simonson (DFL-Duluth) says he agrees with the Governor on his recommendation, but promises to push for the rest next session.

On the Iron Range, lawmakers are a bit more pleased with the Governor's proposal.

Giant's Ridge, Range Regional Airport and the city of Virginia would all receive money for construction projects under the governor's plan.

Detailed Breakdown:
- NorShor Theater Renovations: $4,950,000
- Wade Stadium Design: $200,000
- Giant's Ridge Event Center (through the IRRRB): $4,500,000
- Infrastructure for Northern Heights Industrial Park in Virginia: $1,500,000
- Iron Range Regional Airport Upgrade: $5,000,000
- Northeast Regional Corrections Center: $2,000,000

During his news conference Monday, Governor Dayton said his final list left a lot of projects on the curb due to money constraints.

"We had $2.5 billion of projects to consider and many of them that could not be included were very worthy projects, very necessary improvements to public facilities," said Gov. Dayton.

Money for Spirit Mountain could still be included in a finalized bonding bill at the end of the session.

Officials say the more than century old building is deteriorating; it has leaky pipes and an outdated electrical system.

The Governor is also proposing to put $109 million toward ongoing restoration work along with $16 million for Capitol parking ramps.

House leaders are expected to release their own bonding proposal tomorrow followed by the Senate later this week.

A 60 percent majority is required to pass a bonding bill.

The total cost for all the Northland projects proposed in Governor Dayton's bonding bill would be over $62,000,000.

Kevin Jacobsen
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