Northland lawmakers react to Minn Senate $1.16B bonding proposal

By KBJR News 1

May 5, 2014 Updated May 6, 2014 at 12:06 AM CDT

St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) With less than three weeks to go before the adjournment of the 2014 legislative session, the Senate released its nearly $1.16 billion bonding proposal Monday morning.

The bonding bill provides funding for publicly owned buildings and property in need of renovations or replacement.

Similar to the House proposal, the Senate is calling for a cash infusion due to the $1.2 billion surplus. The breakdown is $846,000 in loans, $198 million in cash.

The total proposed House bonding bill is $975M. The Governor's is $1.2B.

Major Differences

Most Northland projects covered in the House and the Governor's proposal are included in the Senate bill.

The funding proposal for the renovations of Duluth NorShor Theatre is down a million dollars compared to the Governor's proposal. The Senate is requesting $6 million.

The Chair of the Senate Capital Investments Committee, Sen. LeRoy Stumpf says they offered less because there are no matching funds from St. Louis County.

The University of Minnesota Duluth is requesting $24M for a Chemical Sciences & Advanced Materials Building. The House is requesting the full amount. The Senate, however, is calling for $1.5M.

Another big difference between proposals is the funding that would create a new water transportation system for Spirit Mountain. Governor Dayton requested $3.4M for the project. The Senate is calling for $500,000.

Senate Minority Leader David Hann (R-Eden Prairie) took a jab at the project following Governor Dayton's State of the State Address last week when asked about which projects to include in the bill.

"I think trying to find ways to provide good drinking water to the people of Southwest Minnesota is a much better project than turning water into snow up in Northern Minnesota. So we can do that in an $850,000 limit."

Funding for Wade Stadium renovations are not included in the Senate or the Governor's proposals.

Northland Projects slated for funding:
Virginia US Hwy 53 Relocation of Utilities $19.5M
Chemical Sciences & Advanced Materials Building UMD): $1.5M
Lake Superior Zoo Predesign and Design: $200,000
NorShor Theatre: $6M
Vermillion State Park Development: $14M
Range Regional Airport: $5M
Koochiching Airline Terminal Expansion: $2M
Northeast Regional Correctional Center: $1M
Giant's Ridge Event Center: $4.995M
Hermantown Regional Health & Wellness Center Studies $250,000
Spirit Mountain Water Transport: $500,000
Grand Rapids Reif Regional Performing Arts Center Renovations $3.89M
Lake Superior College’s Allied Health Wing revitalization:$5.26M

Click here to read the full bonding proposal spreadsheet.

The Senate Capital Investments Committee will meet again Tuesday to approve the recommendation.

All three bonding proposals will head to conference committees where lawmakers will hash out the differences before the full legislature votes on a final proposal.

Written by Kevin Jacobsen
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