Disappointments in Bonding Bill

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The final minutes of the 2016 Legislative Session ended just short of passing a bonding bill which would have created thousands of jobs. The greater White Bear Lake area had several critical projects at stake in the bill, including $1.78 million for a study of the water levels on White Bear Lake, funding for several projects at Century College as well as a request for a White Bear Lake Community Achievement Center. Sen. Chuck Wiger (DFL-Maplewood) released the following statement about how the session ended.

“I am very disappointed in the way this session ended. All of greater White Bear Lake’s projects were initially included in the Senate’s bonding proposal and then were removed from the House’s bill in the final hours and minutes of session. I am urging Governor Dayton to call a special session and let us pass a comprehensive bonding bill that addresses critical infrastructure needs in communities across the state. This would also give us an opportunity to once again find a compromise on our state’s long-term transportation needs. The projects in our corner of the east metro – as well as dozens of other projects across the state, are too important to delay another year before receiving funding,” said Sen. Wiger.

To read the full Bonding Bill language that was voted on the last day of session, visit:https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/text.php?number=HF622&version=3&session=ls89&session_year=2016&session_number=0

While neither bonding nor transportation were resolved, Sen. Wiger says there were also significant wins for the district including $626,000 over the next three years for expansion of the Race 2 Reduce program. That funding was included in the Education section of this year’s Budget Bill. Race 2 Reduce is a water conservation program that partners with schools in White Bear Lake and Mahtomedi that helps engage students and teachers to reduce their water usage. In the last two years, the program has reached more than 8,800 students and more than 1,150 teachers and adult community members throughout the two school districts. The program believes in the power of youth as advocates for change in our communities.

Wiger is also proud to announce a $150,000 appropriation from the Legacy Omnibus Bill to create a design build for White Bear Lake augmentation. This money will help the region move forward with its planning as it seeks answers to the lake’s water levels issue. The Legacy Omnibus Bill as well as the Budget Bill enjoyed bipartisan support this session.

To read the full bill language for the Budget Bill, visit: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/text.php?number=HF2749&version=3&session=ls89&session_year=2016&session_number=0

Century College had two bonding requests this year; the first was a $2.5 million asset preservation ask to make critical repairs to roofs and windows as well as restoring some masonry and replacing a fire suppression pump. Century did receive those funds in the bill. The college also requested $5.5 million for a new applied technology center; that request was not included in the final bill.

Senator Chuck Wiger
Chuck Wiger represents District 43, which includes portions of Ramsey and Washington counties in the northeastern Twin Cities metropolitan area.

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