State Economist Tom Stinson advised the Legislature that passing a capitol investment bill would be one of the most effective tools for creating jobs in this down economy. Heeding that suggestion, the Legislature passed a $496 million bonding bill. This final bonding bill was not as large as the $775 million package I supported. Still, I voted for the bill because it will put thousands of Minnesotans back to work building and repairing state buildings, making vital improvements to our transportation system, clean water infrastructure, higher education system, and other facilities. The bonding bill makes strategic, targeted investments in high-priority; shovel-ready infrastructure improvements to maximize job creation impact and strengthen Minnesota's economy.
The 2012 Bonding bill will fund $64 million in bonding projects at the University of Minnesota and $132 million in projects at MnSCU. Other projects included the Historical Society, MN Zoo, Perpich Center, environmental protection/clean water and money to begin restoring the State capitol. I was pleased we bonded for $37 million for housing projects, although in my view this amount was inadequate. I was disappointed that the Children's Museum and the St. Paul Ballpark were not funded, but we approved $50 million to the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) for local infrastructure and business development, so both of these projects could still be considered by the Dayton administration.