Republicans release $496 million bonding bill

Republican leaders today (May 3) released a $496 million bonding bill that theoretically includes a number of area projects.

But the makeup of the bill is still in flux.

House Capital Investment Committee Chairman Larry Howes, R-Walker, explained that in talks with Dayton Administration officials it was explained to him the governor finds the disparity between University of Minnesota and Minnesotan State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU)  funding in the bill — a $54 million versus a $145 million split — unaccepted.

While the bill would not increase in size, more rejiggering of the funding amounts would be necessary, Howes indicated.

Stone eagles on the exterior of the century-old State Capitol. (Photo by T.W. Budig)

Currently, Anoka-Ramsey Community College, Dakota County Technical College, North Hennepin Community College, Century College, have funding in the Republican bonding bill.

But whether these amounts remain after the changes and eventual amendments on Republican House and Senate floors is unknown.

In other areas of the bill, the Minnesota Zoo is slated $5 million — it’s looking for funding for refurbishing a rusting salt-water dolphin tank, for one thing.

The National Sports Center has money in the Republican bonding bill.

While the Department of Military Affairs is slated about $5 million in asset preservation, there is no funding for the Camp Ripley Education Center Addition.

Not unexpectedly, no funding is provided the Southwest Corridor Light Rail Line.

Some $55 million is slated for a business development capital project grant program.

Since no civic center funding is provided in the bill, this money may seem inviting to civic center advocates.

A whole list of projects finding favor in Dayton’s $775 million bill — St. Paul Regional Baseball Park, St. Cloud Civic Center, Mankato Civic Center, the Minneapolis Nicollet Avenue Rebuild and Sculpture Garden Preservation, the Oakdale Veterans Memorial, Mayo Civic Center Expansion, others — come up with nothing in the Re;publican bonding bill.

Although Howes indicated the bill is facing more work, he gave a short answer when asked if he had the votes to pass it.

“Yes,” he said.

Howes originally envisioned slating some $220 million towards State Capitol renovation funding.

The current bill contains some $44 million.

But Howes was philosophical.

Shoot for the moon, he said of thinking bill.

He’s “okay” with the current amount, Howes indicated.