Senate DFL Capital Investment Lead Sandy Pappas voted in support of a $1.37 billion Capital Investment bill that passed both the Senate and House today after months of negotiations. The bill passed today will finance $1.87 billion in statewide public projects, once other funding sources are counted. There were $5 billion in bonding requests to improve crumbling public buildings and infrastructure across our state. These investments ensure access to safe drinking water, housing that is affordable, public safety, and upkeep for the higher education institutions that prepare our future workforce in all four corners of the state. Passing a bonding bill will fund hundreds of public construction projects around Minnesota, provide tax relief for small businesses and help address the need for infrastructure improvements, and create thousands of jobs to provide a much-needed boost to the state’s economy.
In response to the passage of the bill, Sen. Sandy Pappas released the following statement:
“If there was ever a time to pass a robust bonding bill, it’s now. Passing a bonding bill will help address the need for infrastructure improvements and create the local jobs and economic stimulus our state needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, I am pleased several local projects where included in the final bill including funding for affordable housing, reconstruction of the 3rd Street Kellogg Bridge, replacing the U of M’s Child Development Building, and the Victoria Theater,
The bill includes a $52 million bonding appropriation to replace the crumbling 3rd Avenue/ Kellogg Boulevard Bridge. The bridge will be expanded to include four lanes of traffic and a 12-foot bike and pedestrian trail on both sides of the roadway. This walkway would be separated from traffic by a concrete barrier. This is a very important project for St. Paul. The current bridge is deteriorating, and we need critical bonding funds to rebuild the bridge to accommodate increased traffic and safety for bicyclist and pedestrians.
Also included in the bill is $116 million in Housing Infrastructure bonds for affordable housing projects for Minnesota, including allowable use for home ownership. The bonding funds will be dedicated to housing infrastructure to buy and build multifamily rental housing for households at or below 50% of median income. This funding is intended to provide rental assistance funds for low-income Minnesotans impacted by the fallout from COVID-19 to help make rent and mortgage payments.
I am pleased the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development has received a $29.2 million appropriation to build a modern facility to support early childhood development programs. Currently, the program is housed in several buildings. The new, modern facility will be housed in one building and will help prepare students to bring science-based solutions to classrooms, communities, and families.
After years of sitting vacant, I am excited the Victoria Theater will be renovated into a community arts center with a $2.4 million bonding appropriation in this bill. This is great news for Frogtown residents who have been working diligently to secure funding to renovate the building. The 105-year-old building will include an area for classes, meetings, and a 120-seat theater.
The Minnesota Forests for the Future Program (MFF) was established by the Minnesota Legislature in 2008 to identify and protect private, working forests for their timber, scenic, recreational, fish and wildlife habitat, threatened and endangered species, and other cultural and environmental values. I am pleased this organization received a $1 million appropriation in the bonding bill to conserve Minnesota’s working forest lands to meet the state’s future recreation, economic, and ecological needs.
Minnesota’s International Institute received a $3 million bonding appropriation to help New Americans achieve self-sufficiency and full membership in American life. The International Institute of Minnesota provides services and resources to provide language learning and job training to immigration assistance, citizenship classes, refugee resettlement, case management. This bonding funds will help provide New Americans a pathway for a strong start to a new life in our communities.
Although I would have liked to see more money dedicated to higher education, I am pleased with the overall bill. It was a bipartisan effort to negotiate a strong bill that will help communities across the state.”
For more information on the 2020 bonding bill, please contact Sen. Sandy Pappas at 651-296-1802 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.