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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Walz asks for record $2.7 billion state building package

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Tuesday proposed a state building package that has a high price tag but not much glitz.

A record-breaking $2.7 billion community building plan that includes significant investment to renovate and upgrade buildings and other facilities already owned by the state and local governments but spending next to nothing on sports stadiums, theatres, museums and other luxury projects, who could get into an accident. category “pleasant, but not necessary.”

The previous record was $1.9 billion in the 2020 bond bill.

The Democratic Party’s Farmer Labor governor has called for $1 billion — 38 percent of the total debt — to be spent on what government jargon calls “asset preservation.” This means repairing and renovating aging buildings, upgrading sewer and plumbing systems, repairing and improving roads and bridges, and the like.

“For the people of Minnesota to know, this is your property. These are assets owned by the people of Minnesota who are preserving, upgrading and making them available to all Minnesotans. … That’s what the bonding law does,” Walz said during a press conference outside the now-under-construction $44 million University of Minnesota Child Development Institute, which he and the Legislature funded two years ago.

RELATED: Walz Seeks Over $150M For Eastern Metro Projects

His “Local Jobs and Projects Plan,” as he calls the amalgamation bill, includes $260 million to renovate and upgrade buildings at the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Higher Education System and $111 million to renovate Department of Natural Resources buildings. roads, trails, public water access and recreational facilities.

The most expensive new building in his package is the undergraduate chemistry lab at the University of Minnesota, at $72 million. It will replace outdated equipment used since the early 1900s with modern laboratories that will support new teaching methods.

Waltz said that with Minnesota’s $7.7 billion budget surplus, strong credit ratings and historically low interest rates, the state should invest in repairing and replacing critical infrastructure.

REPUBLICAN, DEMOCRATIC VIEWS

But Walz’s price tag is “very, very aggressive,” said Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller of Winona.

Republicans in the Senate have not yet decided on a bond spending cap, he said, but it certainly won’t be $2.7 billion.

“I don’t think there is a desire in the Legislative Assembly to come close to that number,” Miller said.

But Walz’s proposal was received much more warmly by the leader of the DFL-controlled House of Representatives.

“There is a huge need in communities across Minnesota to invest in local projects and resources that bring jobs and opportunities to the region, especially when it comes to investing in marginalized Minnesotans and addressing our state’s housing crisis,” House Committee Chairman on Fugh’s capital investment. Lee, DFL-Minneapolis, said in a statement. “In this session, the House of Representatives (committee) will develop a robust rallying bill that will benefit all Minnesotans.”

AGENCIES, LOCAL RESIDENTS REQUESTED MORE

While Waltz’s proposal is solid, it will provide less than half of the $5.5 billion that state and local governments have asked for.

One of the most spectacular and expensive requests that Walz did not support was Ramsey County’s $26 million State First Request for a proposed park at RiversEdge that would develop the former county jail west of the Wabasha Street Bridge. downtown St. Paul to the Mississippi River, extending the park through railroad tracks and Shepard Road to the riverbank.

Instead, the governor recommended more modest projects to Saint Paul, such as a new community center and improvements to the Como Zoo.

His funding plan calls for a $2 billion total commitment bond issue that requires a supermajority of two-thirds in the Legislature, plus $276 million in cash and $250 million in other loans.

He asked for $120 million to replace local bridges and $90 million to improve local roads, but said he would seek additional funds for transportation in an additional budget bill he would propose in the coming weeks. This supplemental budget plan will also look at how the state will spend an initial installment of about $6.8 billion (over 5 years) of federal money on infrastructure for projects such as bridge repairs and replacement of lead water pipes.

On Tuesday, Waltz also recommended $450 million for safe and affordable housing projects and $200 million for grants and loans for local sewerage and water supplies. He requested $100 million in “equity equity” projects for black, indigenous, and organizations of color that had traditionally been excluded from public construction funding.

In addition, Waltz offered to spend $262 million on environmental projects, including $60 million for bus rapid transit lines, $20 million for local flood control projects, and $13.8 million for electric vehicle charging stations.

The unification bill will be a top priority for the Legislative Assembly, which will reconvene on January 31st.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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