Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s signing Sunday of a $1 billion bonding bill came at a price — he cut $319 million in state construction projects from the bill to show his “commitment to fiscal discipline and an attempt to prioritize important state projects.”
For Twin Cities projects included in the bill, the news was mixed. Large requests for the arts and culture, including money for the Ordway, Minneapolis’ Orchestra Hall and the Minnesota and Como zoos survived.
But other, smaller cultural projects included in the bill for items such as an Asian-Pacific Cultural Center in St. Paul and an African-American History Museum and Culture Center in Minneapolis were killed.
Pawlenty vetoed the largest single item in the bill for the Twin Cities, a $43.5 million allocation to the Metropolitan Council to improve transit in the Twin Cities, saying that the Legislature left him no choice but to veto the entire item instead of unspecified projects contained within it that he didn’t like.
Also cut out of the bill by Pawlenty’s line-item veto pen:
* $13 million for Minneapolis Community and Technical College to renovate instructional and support space.
* $10.6 million for library and student services renovations for Hennepin Technical College in Eden Prairie and Brooklyn Park.
* $6.5 million for an addition to the Arden Hills MnDOT training center.
* $5.3 million to renovate and equip a fine arts classroom and lab building at Anoka Ramsey Community College in Coon Rapids.
* $5 million for St. Paul to build and equip an Asian-Pacific Cultural Center.
* $4 million for drainage and infrastructure on Minneapolis’ Granary Road.
* $3 million for a regional fire training facility for Ramsey County in Maplewood.
* $2 million for renovating the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, located next to the Walker Arts Center.
* $1.1 million for St. Paul and Ramsey County to renovate the Phalen-Keller Regional Park.
* $1 million for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to design an Olympic-class training center at the Theodore Wirth Regional Park.
* $1 million for improvements at the Hoffman interlocking rail yard in St. Paul.
* $840,000 for Hennepin County to begin designing and renovate an historic mansion to create an African-American History Museum and Culture Center.
* $600,000 for North Hennepin Community College for design of a Bioscience and Health Center addition.
Other Twin Cities items included in the bill that survived and will receive funds include Hennepin County’s Lowry Avenue bridge replacement, Ramsey County’s Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare construction project, and lots of classroom renovations and upgrades at technical and community colleges throughout the Twin Cities.
And he vetoed many items elsewhere in Minnesota, including money for Civic Center expansions in Rochester, Mankato and St. Cloud, a $42 million science and engineering lab at St. Cloud State University, money for state trails, agriculture conservation programs and more.