Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has introduced what he calls a “jobs bill” that would invest $1.5 billion in community infrastructure projects statewide. The governor says the bill would create more than 22,000 jobs statewide.
Dayton plans to fund the infrastructure projects through a $1.5 billion bond issue. The state has over $3 billion in available bonding capacity for 2017-2018, so the bill would take up a little under half of the available runway.
The bill is a second try for the governor who proposed a similar package last year but it failed to get through the statehouse.
The projects included in the governor’s proposal include essential water infrastructure, farming operations, college and university facilities, and community buildings. 35 percent of projects will be based in Greater Minnesota, 30 percent in the Twin Cities Area, and 35 percent will have statewide impact. In a statement, the governor said the bill would also rely on as much as $600 million in private, local and federal matching investments.
Some of the projects outlined in the governor’s statement on the proposed bill include an $11.5 million investment in the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System to improve reliability; a $21 million investment to modernize heating for the city of Duluth’s downtown, which still runs on coal-fired steam heat and a $10 million investment to upgrade facilities, essential infrastructure, and expand port capacity in Duluth, Red Wing, Winona and St. Paul.