Champlin Mill Pond, Anoka-Ramsey Community College and rail grade separation projects all affected
ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Senate failed to pass a $1.5 billion Bonding Bill on Thursday. The bill would have made significant investments in the northwest metro. The Minnesota Constitution requires a super-majority vote for passage of a bonding bill. In the Senate, that’s 41 votes. The final vote came up just short at 40-26. All 39 Democrats and 1 Republican voted yes, the remaining Republicans voted no.
Among the projects that were included in the bill was $3.3 million to move the Champlin Mill Pond into its second phase of construction, $5 million for a new nursing and active learning center at Anoka-Ramsey Community College as well as $11.9 million and $1.5 million respectively for the rail grade separation projects at Hanson Boulevard in Coon Rapids and at County Road 56 in Ramsey. Sen. John Hoffman (DFL-Champlin) authored the four proposals in the Senate and is extremely disappointed that the bill failed.
“Our failure to pass this incredibly important bill is a real disappointment, and the worst part is that it’s going to hurt a lot of communities across the state. The money that was included in the bill would have done a lot of good in our part of the metro, while also creating jobs and driving economic development. The rail grade separation projects are really crucial to improving safety and response times for emergency vehicles and I’m glad that at least the Governor and the Senate made a priority of funding these this year. Likewise, the money for the Champlin Mill Pond would have advanced this project and eventually allow area residents to reconnect with the river,” said Sen. Hoffman.
Hoffman is particularly disappointed in the failure of the bill because of what it does to higher education institutions – around a quarter of the bill was dedicated to colleges and universities. The $5 million for Anoka-Ramsey Community College would help begin phase one of a new nursing center. Current students in the nursing program are using an outdated learning space built in the 1960’s that doesn’t properly accommodate the technology used to teach modern nursing students. The new space would include modernized classrooms and more flexible learning spaces.
Transportation projects make up the greatest percentage of the Senate’s Bonding Bill, coming in at just under $400 million. Another quarter of the bill is dedicated to higher education, while the rest is divided among water infrastructure, parks and trails, public safety, housing and human services and the arts. The bill was estimated to create around 40,000 jobs in the short term, and would help drive economic development and enhance Minnesota’s infrastructure well into our state’s future.
To learn more about the Senate Bonding Bill and view an interactive map of projects, visit: http://build.mn/2016-bonding-bill/2016-senate-bonding-bill/