MN Gov. Dayton signs $1.4B bonding bill to fund construction projects
ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP/KVRR) – Gov. Mark Dayton signed a $1.4 billion bonding bill Wednesday morning for construction projects around the state, despite some serious concerns.
The bonding bill passed in the closing moments of the legislative session earlier this month. The bill borrows money and general obligation bonds to fund construction projects around the state.
This year’s bill includes $825 million in general obligation bonds, $417 million in trunk highway bonds to fund road projects around the state and a little bit of cash from the surplus as well, but the governor believes there should have been more money for colleges and universities.
The legislation will fund many projects in Northwestern Minnesota.
Rep. Ben Lien of Moorhead says the bill gives $6 million for the 20/21 Street underpass and $628,000 for repairs on Weld Hall at Minnesota State University Moorhead.
Sen. Kent Eken of Twin Valley says the measure puts off a 7 percent cut in funding for Personal Care Attendants. He explains the measure has a provision to give equal rates of pay between PCAs in Moorhead and Fargo.
Eken adds the bonding bill provides funding for flood mitigation for Moorhead, Hendrum, Perley and Halstad.
“Higher education—just the basic need for maintenance and repair was seriously underfunded,” Dayton said. “Some of the new projects, for example the University of Minnesota medical school building, things that are imperative to keeping us a world class higher education institutions able to attract the best and brightest faculty and the best and brightest students, were just not funded at all.”
The governor did line-item veto $1 million in grant money to review scientific work done by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Dayton said he felt this added an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy.
Also on the veto list was a bill to restructure the Metropolitan Council. The governor said it did not have enough support from the counties who are represented on the council.
He also vetoed a bill that would allow criminal penalties for people who have knowledge of acts to damage utilities infrastructure such as pipelines. Dayton said he believes there are already sufficient laws on the books.