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Bonding bill includes Armory Square, local projects

ST.PAUL – Early this morning, the House passed a Capital Investment package that includes $846 million in GO bonds and an additional bill that includes $200 million in further investments in infrastructure projects. The bills include priorities with statewide significance, focusing on higher education, regional assets, transportation, housing, and basic infrastructure as well as funding for several local projects. Representatives John Persell (DFL – Bemidji) and Roger Erickson (DFL – Baudette) advocated for the projects in the Legislature.

“These infrastructure projects will help improve community assets that are utilized by people from around the state,” said Rep. Persell. “Bemidji State University in particular serves students from communities across Minnesota. BSU is one of the most valuable assets in our area and I’m happy to see us make long term investments in the campus.”

“This investment package doesn’t just help preserve our assets, it also puts people to work,” said Erickson. “These projects will create construction and labor jobs that will provide a boost to our local economies that are still recovering from the recession. The combination of short and long term benefits is what makes these bonding bills so critical for our communities.”

Local projects funded under the proposed bill include:

  • BSU Memorial, Decker, Sanford, and Hagg Sauer building project- $13,790,000
  • Red Lake Capital Loan - $5,491,000
  • Matching funds for a EPA clean water grant (Lake of the Woods County eligible for up to $1,335,000)
  • Itasca Research Station Higher Ed Asset Preservation - $225,000
  • Development and maintenance of the Heartland Trail
  • Upper Mississippi Arts Center in Park Rapids - $2.5 million
  • DNR Buildings and Facilities Development in Bemidji
  • Bemidji State University Higher Ed Asset Preservation - $4,160,000

At a time when interest rates are still low, the borrowing bill will allow the state to stretch taxpayer dollars and boost job creation. Minnesota added more than 45,000 jobs during 2013, and currently has an unemployment rate of 4.7 percent.

Other highlights of the Capital Investment bill include:

  • $126 million for completion of the State Capitol renovation
  • $240 million in higher education projects for the University of Minnesota and MnSCU
  • Over $113 million for roads, bridges and vital transportation infrastructure.
  • $100 million for housing, the largest investment in state history.