Capital investment projects must serve a public purpose and be publicly owned. The money is used by the state, counties, and local units of government to build, enhance, and preserve infrastructure. Projects can range from the replacement of a bridge to the preservation of the state Capitol or constructing a new building for the University of Minnesota to train medical doctors. In September, there were 255 bonding requests made by agencies and local units of government totaling $3.3 billion.
In the lead up to developing a bill, both the House and Senate typically tour the state to review proposals. The House took its tours during the summer and fall, while the Senate waited until after the first of the year to begin their tour. The tours are invaluable; they provide an opportunity for legislators to get a sense of the project requests.
In January, Governor Dayton released his recommendations for his bonding proposal. The projects he includes encompass investments across the state totaling approximately $1.5 billion. The largest share of the investment is for the state’s higher education system ($542 million) as well as for the maintenance and restoration of the state’s facilities ($458 million). Another notable investment in his proposal includes $167 million being made available to help communities provide affordable water to their citizens as well as protecting water from pollutants. Minnesota Management and Budget believes the Governor’s proposal would leverage $570 million in private, federal, and local investment.
The Governor’s proposal will be a starting point for negotiations between the Senate and House. Unlike other bills the Legislature votes on, bonding projects must be enacted with the support of three-fifths of the House (81 votes) and Senate (41 votes). This requires them to receive bipartisan support for them to reach Gov. Dayton.
There is more information on the water bonding projects in the Environment section of this document. Higher education requests are detailed in the Higher Education section.