ECM Capitol reporterThe State Capitol is one of the biggest beneficiaries of Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton’s $750 million bonding bill.
Released on Monday (April 8), the wish list includes funding for the St. Cloud Civic Center — Dayton is mystified why civic centers haven’t been funded in the past — $10 million for the Minnesota Zoo and transportation dollars for local roads in the vicinity of the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant in Arden Hills.
Dayton considers the old ammunition plant, once cleaned-up and local roadways upgraded, to be one of the prime pieces of real estate in the metro.
In other funding areas, Dayton slates about $5 million for construction of a security fence at the Shakopee’s women’s prison, the prison currently fenced-in by shrubbery.
He slates about $1 million to acquire and renovate two buildings next to the Lino Lakes Correction Facility for extra bed and program space.
The biggest corrections’ bonding project, about $32 million, is for an intake, health service and loading dock at the St. Cloud State Prison.
Dayton’s largest human services bonding proposal is about $47 million for upgrades to the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter.
Higher education benefits by $189 million in the governor’s bill.
In addition to $35 million for asset preservation at Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, Dayton slates about $32 million for a new science building at Metro State University in St. Paul.
The governor recommends $56 million in bonding for the design, construction, renovation and equipping of the Tate Physics Laboratory on the University of Minnesota’s Minneapolis campus.
Dayton focused on higher education bonding projects that would prepare students to join the workforce, he said.
In veterans funding, Dayton provides about $54 million to raze, reconstruct and equip a new skilled nursing facility on the Minneapolis Veterans Home campus.
It’s expected federal dollars will help cover some of the cost, the administration notes.
In local government funding, Dayton recommends about $4 million for upgrades at the St. David’s Center for Child and Family Development in Minnetonka, a facility serving some 2,000 children, adults and families throughout the west metro each year.
Dayton includes $20 million for a grant to the City of Minneapolis to redevelop Nicollet Mall, and $7 million to preserve and renovate the Sculpture Garden.
The governor includes $14 million to expand the St. Paul’s Children’s Museum, dollars not committed until the City of St. Paul finds at least an equal amount of non-state funding.
Two civic centers, the Rochester Mayo Civic Center and Mankato Convention Center, are funded for $35 million and about $15 million, respectively, in the governor’s bonding bill.
Dayton recommends about $1 million to the City of Maple Plain for reconstruction of two city streets — the funding is hedged on the city obtaining an equal amount from non-state sources.
“There’s a lot here that isn’t here,” Dayton said of the billions of dollars in projects failing to make his bonding bill.
One bonding item receiving favorable comment from legislative leaders is Capitol renovation.
Dayton recommends some $109 million toward the continual renovation of the century-old State Capitol.
Last year, some $44 million in bonding went toward fixing the historic building.
The injection of the proposed $109 million would keep preservation work going through 2014, the administration notes.
Work would include asbestos abatement, mechanical, electrical, plumbing upgrades, roof replacement, other improvements.
Dayton quipped that he refuses to see scaffolding clinging to the Capitol dome years into the future.
He wants the work done.
“It’s not going to be easy. It’s going to disruptive,” he said.
In terms of projects, Dayton said his bill breaks down to 43 percent for the metro, 34 percent for Greater Minnesota, about 23 percent having statewide benefits.
“We’re a mosaic of all the projects,” Dayton of his bill and Minnesota.
House Democrats are expected to release their bonding bill on Tuesday.
Dayton expressed flexibility in terms of the ultimate size of the bonding bill.
Not everyone is pleased with the bonding.
“Tomorrow, House Democrats are expected to unveil a bonding list that seeks to borrow even more money than proposed by Governor Dayton,” said Rep. Matt Dean, R-Dellwood, Republican Capital Investment Committee lead.
“This continues a disturbing pattern from Democrats who seem to be competing to see who can raise taxes higher and spend the most money. This is out-of-control government at its worst,” he said.
Tim Budig can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org