Moorhead project in mix as Gov. Dayton seeks to borrow $1.4 billion for public works projects
ST. PAUL--Gov. Mark Dayton wants to spend $1.4 billion on public works projects around Minnesota, one of the largest requests in history and a big target for Republicans who prefer spending much less.Dayton's biggest request is more than $70 mill...
ST. PAUL-Gov. Mark Dayton wants to spend $1.4 billion on public works projects around Minnesota, one of the largest requests in history and a big target for Republicans who prefer spending much less.
Dayton's biggest request is more than $70 million to improve security at the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter. Other projects Dayton wants to fund range from establishing new sex offender treatment centers to fixing existing state facilities.
"Today is the day we talk about investing in the future of Minnesota," Dayton said this morning in introducing his public works package, to be funded by the state selling bonds.
Even though the figure is among the top in history, it would fund just 37 percent of the projects requested by state officials and local leaders.
"If we short-shrift these projects and others ... we are going to incapacitate Minnesota in the years ahead," Dayton said. "Not next year, but 10 years from now. That is the responsibility we have as leaders ... to look ahead."
He said he anticipated Republican opposition, which came moments after his announcement.
"Gov. Dayton's historically large borrowing proposal should be cut in half before we even begin talking about statewide priorities and specific projects," Senate Minority Leader David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, said.
After hearing the comment, Democrat Dayton said that was "a good line," but the governor suggested that Hann look over projects that would not be funded by such a cut.
A bonding bill requires legislative approval.
The Dayton proposal includes several regional projects, including $16 million to finish the state portion of delivering water to 20,000 southwestern Minnesota residents via the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System, $21 million to convert Duluth's steam heat system to hot water; $4 million to improve downtown Red Wing, including renovating the city's performing arts center; $3 million to build an International Falls-Koochiching County Airport terminal; $6 million to build a Bemidji regional dental facility for low-income residents; and $5 million for Rochester's airport.
The governor also proposes spending nearly $70 million for new railroad-road overpasses or underpasses in Moorhead, Prairie Island Indian Community and Coon Rapids. He also would pay $5 million for better railroad warning lights and $3.5 million to improve oil train and pipeline safety training.
A new state emergency operations center would cost more than $33 million.
Repair projects throughout the state's two college and university systems would cost $135 million.
Providing sex offender treatment facilities, at sites to be determined, would cost $14.5 million. Dayton said that he hates to spend that kind of money on sex offenders, but a federal judge's ruling-which has been appealed-orders Minnesota to give sex offenders a chance to be released from a prison-like state hospital program.
Dayton also would spend $8.5 million to improve existing prison facilities to take 135 more prisoners, which would not by itself cure the state being 500 prisoners over capacity.