Legislators see bonding bill as an economic pumpby Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio
Democrats in the Minnesota House are proposing a bonding plan that includes much more funding building projects at state colleges and universities than Gov. Tim Pawlenty's plan.
St. Paul, Minn. — The nearly $1 billion proposal differs from plans put forward by Senate DFLers and Governor Pawlenty. DFL Representative Alice Hausman of St. Paul says she targeted her plan to include projects that can get started soon to help a struggling construction sector.
Governor Pawlenty proposed a nearly $1 billion bill but has suggested he may want to scale it back in light of the growing budget deficit.
Rep. Hausman said she may be willing to downsize her bill to meet Pawlenty's demands.
"$825 is the governor's number, and we don't want to draw any lines in the sand, but clearly that is the piece - the size of the bill - that we'll have some conversations about," Hausman said.
About 40 percent of the projects in the House plan are on public college campuses. There is also $70 million allocated for the Central Corridor light rail line between St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Among the proposed spending in the House bill is:
-$100 million to fix windows, roofs and building interiors on the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities campuses. There's tens of millions of dollars more for new or expanded buildings.
-$70 million toward a Minneapolis-to-St. Paul light rail line.
-$75 million combined for civic center and arena work in Bemidji, Crookston, Duluth, Rochester and St. Cloud.
-$16 million for expansion of the Faribault prison.
-$15.5 million to buy land for a proposed state park at Lake Vermilion.
-$13.4 million for state Capitol restoration.
-$11 million for polar bear and gorilla exhibit renovation at the Como Zoo.
Hausman said she fully intends to scale back the House plan during negotiations with the Senate because she doesn't want to put the whole bill in danger of a veto.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.