MN House suggests paying $975M bonding bill with loan and cash

By KBJR News 1

April 1, 2014 Updated Apr 1, 2014 at 9:10 PM CDT

St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) - The chief of the bonding bill is quick to admit it's not the proposal she wants.

"The one defining word is inadequate. There are many areas in this bill that don't reach the level we need to. But it's a work in progress," said Rep. Alice Hausman, the chief author of the bill.

The proposal's $975 million in capitol investments call for funding a number of major projects across the state including several in the Northland.

NorShor Theatre, Wade Stadium, Spirit Mountain, Giant's Ridge and UMD are all on the list.

"These not bills are not about us. Not about our caucus. Not about our leaders. They are about the thousands of Minnesotans we've talked to over the past years," said Rep. Hausman.

But unlike in past years, the House is offering its bonding bill in two parts.

House lawmakers suggest paying $850 million with the state's credit card. That's how bonding bills are typically funded.
The rest, however, would be paid with in cash, thanks in part to the state's surplus.

A ranking Republican in the committee, Matt Dean, says it's too early to make any comments, but stresses his caucus wants a bill they can vote for.

GOP votes are needed to pass the bonding bill, which requires a super majority.

"There are some really important thing for the University of Minnesota, for MNSCU, for our corrections, really important things that do need to be done and we really want to make sure they get done," Rep. Dean said.

DFL House Speaker Paul Thissen says the bill won't hit the floor until next week at the earliest.

The House Capital Investment Committee will meet again Wednesday at 3 p.m. to take amendments on the bonding bill.

The House bill will have to be compared with the Senate's version, once it's introduced.

Full list of Northland projects in the House Bill.
·$4.4 million for Wade Ballpark.
·$6.95 million for the NorShor Theater.
·$24 million for a chemical sciences and advanced materials building at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
·$3.4 million for Spirit Mountain’s water system.
·$3.5 million for Lake Superior College’s Allied Health Science building.
·$3.75 million for port development assistance for the Duluth Port Authority.
·$7.3 million for the Public Facilities Authority Wastewater Infrastructure Fund, Western Lake Superior Sanitary District.
·$3.5 million for PFA Wastewater Infrastructure Fund, Duluth’s CIPP project.
·$2 million for Mission Creek stream protection and restoration.
·$30 million for improvements to MnSCU campuses statewide.
·$6.5 million to improve & expand Range Regional Airport
·$557,250 to improve & upgrade Hibbing Community College

·The House bonding bill contains $21.75 million for statewide bridge repair and replacement and another $18 million for local road improvements. The proposal also includes $100 million for affordable housing rehabilitation.

Written for the web by Kevin Jacobsen