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Lawmakers don’t typically bond for projects in odd years, but Dayton said there’s a backlog of projects that need work around the state after years of gubernatorial vetoes and reluctance to move major bonding projects during the last two years of GOP legislative control

Dayton proposes $750 million package of construction projects

Gov. Mark Dayton unveils his 2013 bonding proposal at a Captiol news conference Monday (Staff photo: Peter Bartz-Gallagher)

Gov. Mark Daytonis proposing a $750 million bonding bill this session that he says will create 21,000 jobs and make major headway on Capitol repairs and civic center improvements around the state.

Lawmakers don’t typically bond for construction projects in odd-numbered years, but Dayton said there’s a backlog of work that needs to be done around the state after years of gubernatorial vetoes and reluctance to move major bonding projects during the last two years of GOP legislative control. The Capitol restoration project would receive $109 million under Dayton’s proposal, released Monday. That’s the largest share of any single project in the governor’s bill and more than half of the money needed to complete slated repairs to the more than 100-year-old building.

“It’s not going to be easy, it’s not going to be pleasant,” Dayton said of the Capitol restoration. “But it needs to be done.”

Higher education infrastructure, civic center improvements and public safety also get major bonding dollars under the governor’s bill. Here’s a rundown of the highlights of Dayton’s 2013 bonding proposal:

  • Higher education infrastructure: Dayton proposes to spend $189 million on infrastructure improvements to labs, classrooms and buildings on the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities campuses. That includes $85 million to complete the STEM Tate Laboratory renovation at the university.
  • Civic Centers: The governor proposes nearly $60 million in bonding for three regional civic center projects – St. Cloud, Mankato and Rochester. Dayton also directs dollars toward increasing the size of the Children’s Museum in St. Paul and reconstructing the Nicollet Avenue Mall in Minneapolis. Dayton emphasized the need to “invest in downtowns” in order to keep regional centers prosperous.
  • Roads and Bridges: The governor’s plan would pump $46.6 million in improvements to roads and bridges around the state.
  • Public Safety:  Dayton would like to see more than $100 million invested in asset preservation and infrastructure improvements to mental health facilities and correctional centers around the state, including $5.2 million for a fence around the Shakopee women’s prison and $31.7 million to create a new health services unit at the St. Cloud men’s prison.
  • Veterans: One of the larger projects in the bill is $54.1 million to demolish, design and construct a new Minneapolis Veterans Home.

Dayton said his bill does not include bonding dollars for a proposed expansion of the Mayo clinic in Rochester, but he would be open to the idea if the Legislature is supportive.

House Capital Investment Chairwoman Alice Hausman plans to release an $800 million package of bonding projects on Tuesday. Dayton and DFL lawmakers will need eight Republican vote in the House and two GOP votes in the Senate to break the 60 percent threshold needed to pass a bonding bill. But Dayton said he will resist any attempts from the GOP minorities to use bonding votes to gain leverage in an end-of-session deal on tax increases.

“They’ve been separate issues in the past. I’d resist efforts to link them,” Dayton said. “Ultimately legislators have to decide if they support 21,000 jobs or not.”

House Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, was immediately critical of the governor’s plan on Twitter, saying it focused on greater Minnesota and the Twin Cities at the expense of projects in the suburbs.

Go here for a full list of Dayton’s proposed bonding projects.

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