A bill that would help the Mayo Clinic and Rochester use $585 million in taxpayer money to develop downtown Rochester has been introduced at the Legislature.
The bill outlines how the Mayo Clinic and the city of Rochester intend to redevelop the city. The money would be spent over the next thirty years on things like roads, bridges, parking lots and transit. The bill also says the money could be used to support the development of parks, shopping centers, housing and broadcasting and multimedia facilities.
Rep. Kim Norton, DFL-Rochester, is the chief author of the House bill. She says the public subsidy is needed to support Mayo's private spending.
"It's going to be kind of fast and furious in the next 15 to 20 years and our current levels of funding are not going to be able to keep up with that growth," Norton said.
Several lawmakers expressed concern about the plan because it would siphon tax money from the state's general fund to help fund economic development in Rochester.
The House bill has been referred to the House Jobs and Economic Development Committee. Committee Chair Tim Mahoney says he intends to hear the bill in the next two weeks.
The Federal Government is already gearing up to invest billions of dollars in high-speed rail, including a link between the Twin Cities and Rochester. Within the 30-year timeline of Mayo's proposal, people will be able to travel between the Twin Cities and Rochester in 20 minutes, and have all the access to lodging, housing, shopping and entertainment that they want. We should not dump a half-billion of state money into a project that will be rendered pointless by the time it is complete.