Bonding in rural MN


So we’ve seen what the Twin Cities asked for, and what they might get in this year’s bonding bill at the Legislature.

Next, we’ll take a brief look at bonding requests from outstate, or rural Minnesota.

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system is not entirely located outside the Twin Cities, with many community and technical colleges in the metro area. But it’s largest campus is St. Cloud State and most of its members are scattered around the state.

MnSCU would get $245 million in the House bonding bill, compared with $211 million from the Senate bonding bill and a relatively paltry $93 million from Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s bonding recommendation.

Included in the Senate and House bill, but not in Pawlenty’s request, are: $28 million for St. Cloud State to build a science and engineering lab, money for North Hennepin and Anoka Ramsey Community Colleges to build bioscience and health careers additions, and millions more for projects in Bemidji, Alexandria, Willmar, Rochester, Marshall and elsewhere.

Pawlenty, the House and Senate are on the same page when it comes to $50 million or more for basic upkeep and repairs throughout the system, as well as other projects in St. Cloud, Eveleth and Duluth.

The Red Lake School District would get a $5.7 million capital loan in both the House and Senate bills that isn’t included in Pawlenty’s request.

The Department of Natural Resources would get $139 million in bonding from the Senate bill, compared with $123.6 million from the House bill and $88.5 million from Pawlenty’s request. The largest item of agreement is $50 million in flood hazard mitigation, though the Senate wants $70 million for it.

The Senate would give $34 million and the House $28 million for an expansion of Rochester’s Mayo Civic Center, which Pawlenty’s recommendation omits.

Both the Senate and House would give $15.1 million to expand St. Cloud’s Civic Center as well, an item Pawlenty also did not include.

And both Senate and House bills give $13.9 million for Mankato to expand its Civic Center. Pawlenty doesn’t include any local government-requested projects in his bonding request at all.

An $89 million expansion of the state’s sex offender prison/treatment center in Moose Lake is one of Pawlenty’s biggest requests, but it’s not included in either the House or Senate bills.

But a $10 million Pawlenty request to build an emergency management training facility at Camp Ripley near Little Falls is included in full in the House bill and at $6 million in the Senate bill.