House unveils capital investment package

The Minnesota House on Monday unveiled a capital investment package which overwhelmingly focuses on bricks-and-mortar projects, including transportation and water infrastructure as well as asset preservation.

The House’s $600 million bill would rank as one of the state’s largest bonding bills ever assembled in an odd-numbered year. Overall, more than 80 percent of the projects funded in the House bill – $486 million – pertain to roads and bridges, clean water infrastructure and maintaining state facilities.

“All of these projects were visited and vetted over the last two years,” said House Capital Investment Committee Chairman Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Acton Township. “The focus is squarely on improving our state’s infrastructure, sticking with the priorities during what is, by definition, not a bonding year. This is the first step in our process to get projects rolling.”

The infrastructure breakdown includes $240.2 million for transportation work, $139.8 million for water-related projects and $106 million for facilities preservation.

“It is challenging to assemble bill which both respects the taxpayers and also upholds our infrastructural obligations,” Urdahl said. “That is exactly what this bill accomplishes.”

House and Senate Republicans’ top priority this session is balancing the state budget. On Friday, they announced joint legislative targets focusing on tax relief, investments in roads and bridges and education. Legislative leaders have requested that Gov. Mark Dayton engage in the open, transparent conference committee process so three-way budget targets can be agreed upon by May 4.