Dayton Wants $750 Million For Public Works, Including Local Projects


By Don Davis

Gov. Mark Dayton says 21,000 people would get jobs if the Legislature funds his $750 million public works project proposal.

The Democratic governor said he emphasized projects that are ready to begin. They would be funded by the state selling bonds.

The biggest Dayton project is $109 million to begin a major Capitol building renovation project. About $95 million more would be needed next year, he said.

Dayton said 43 percent of the projects, including Capitol work, would be in the Twin Cities area, with 34 percent elsewhere and 23 percent with statewide impact.

Like other governors, much of the emphasis in his plan is on state-run colleges and universities. He calls for $71.2 million in state funds for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and $71.7 million for the University of Minnesota.

Unlike Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Dayton seeks considerable money for local projects. For instance, his $136.7 million local projects would provide street work in Clara City, theater and stadium renovations in Duluth, infrastructure work in Fosston, an Iron Range Regional Airport upgrade and industrial park work in Virginia.

The Dayton plan continues state funding for flood prevention efforts, centered on Moorhead. He proposes spending $15 million.

The proposal cannot pass without Republican support because the Constitution requires a three-fifth vote to pass a bonding bill, more than Democrats who control the Legislature can supply. While they did not immediately react to the Dayton plan, many GOP leaders have said they support Capitol building work, but not much else.

House Democrats plan to release their $800 million bonding plan Tuesday.