On Wednesday, January 4, 2017, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton proposed the largest public construction package in Minnesota history. Projects that would see an influx of money include state colleges and university projects, water infrastructure projects, farming operations, rehabilitation for local roads and bridges, and more.
2016 marked the second time in 30 years that the Minnesota legislature did not pass a public works construction bill in an even-numbered year. In the wake of failing to pass a construction bill last year, Gov. Dayton calls this bill a “catch-up” measure and adds, “[t]hese community construction projects will strengthen our local economies and improve opportunities for all Minnesotans.”
A driving factor behind the proposal is job creation in the construction industry. Model calculations estimate that nearly 23,000 jobs would be created should this proposal pass. Those estimated jobs would cover all areas of the industry. Industry workers could find themselves working on major Minnesota construction projects such as the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter, the new health sciences education center at the University of Minnesota, the renovation of Fort Snelling cavalry barracks into a new visitor center, or upgrading the seal and sea lion exhibit at Como Zoo. A state map breaking down some of the locations for projects can be found here. Click here for a spreadsheet regarding the allocation of the proposed funding.
Whether Gov. Dayton’s entire proposal will receive the necessary support to be put into action in total remains to be seen. With a Republican-controlled legislature, the $1.5 billion could be delayed another year, or the bill could be approved at a lesser amount. Currently, Gov. Dayton is pushing for urgent action to get the bill approved. The website for Office of Gov. Dayton and Lt. Gov. Tina Smith offers a full breakdown of the bill.