Earlier today, the Senate Capital Investment Committee released a $561 million bonding bill, which only appropriates $4 million towards Greater Minnesota Transit, essentially leaving out Duluth’s multimodal transit center. This sum is far short of Governor Dayton’s proposed $10 million, of which the Governor had recommended $6 million be appropriated specifically towards the Duluth Multimodal Transportation Center.
Whereas many bonding requests seek support from the state first, the Multimodal Transportation Center has already received federal grant money and has partnered with local stakeholders to fund $20,000,000 of the transit center’s development. The project requires state support as the final piece of the puzzle.
The Senate bonding bill also does not include funding for UMD’s American Indian Learning Resource Center, Spirit Mountain, or Wade Stadium. “In essence, Duluth received nothing in this bill for projects critical to our community,” said Senator Roger Reinert.
“The creation of the bonding bill is supposed to be the most nonpartisan task of the Legislature,” said Senator Reinert. “Bonding dollars are intended to be distributed equitably throughout the state, and I am disturbed to see that while Duluth was zeroed out, the home districts of the Chair and Vice-chair of the Committee received $42 million combined for their civic centers – totaling 13 percent of the entire bill.”
The Senate bonding bill includes $39 million for the University of Minnesota, $127 million for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, $30 million for flood mitigation, $25 million for a new building at the Minneapolis Veterans Home, $32 million towards the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester and $10 million for the St. Cloud Civic Center. Governor Dayton had recommended a total of $775 million in bonding towards a much wider range of projects around the state.
“At this point, I can’t see why I would support a bill that does not bring jobs and investment to Duluth,” said Senator Reinert.