Earlier today, Governor Mark Dayton released his bonding proposal for the 2012 legislative session. It consists of $775 million in investments in projects aimed to improve Minnesota’s transportation infrastructure, develop community assets and strengthen educational institutions around the state.
“This is an appropriately-sized bonding bill from the Governor and I’m hoping the legislature will debate it and move the bill to quick passage,” said Senator Roger Reinert. “Even though session begins next week, we’re still questioning whether or not there will even be a bonding bill this year. Passage of a bonding bill is the only constitutionally-required task this session.”
Governor Dayton’s bonding proposal recommends $10 million be dedicated towards the needs of transit facilities in Greater Minnesota, of which the goal is for $6 million of this fund would go towards the construction of Duluth’s multi-modal transit center. This transit center would accommodate bus service and pedestrian connections to and from the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center and trails system.
The Governor’s proposal also supports the allocation of $3 million to the Department of Transportation to partner with local governments to improve freight handling on Minnesota’s commercial waterway systems. While these funds will be spread amongst the several port authorities in Minnesota, the Port of Duluth is by-far the most prominent recipient of these dollars. This assistance is critical in moving commerce in and out of Duluth’s port.
In addition, the Governor is recommending that a total of $32 million be set in a separate fund for the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency to rehabilitate public housing and to acquire and remodel foreclosed properties around the state. Regional centers like Duluth will be a significant benefactor of these housing investments.
Governor Dayton also proposed a $5.6 million investment in waste water infrastructure, a fund in which Duluth has benefited from in resolving its sanitary sewer overflow issue. While this issue has been managed in Duluth, other communities across the state continue to struggle with similar issues.
“The Governor’s proposal is good news for Duluth because it focuses on improving the city’s infrastructure,” said Senator Reinert. “Area projects like the multi-modal transit center and rehabilitation of public housing will benefit greatly from the additional assistance outlined in the proposal. It’s important that in this bonding bill, the legislature focuses on needs and not wants.”