Governor Dayton’s 2016 Bonding Proposal

  • Transportation

    Rather than roads, bridges or transit, Governor Dayton’s transportation priorities focus on rail and pipeline safety. Dayton’s proposal includes nearly $70 million for three high-profile rail grade separation projects. These projects have grown more dangerous as they block intersections for increasingly long periods of time as the number of trains carrying oil has increased dramatically the past few years.

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    Rail Grade Separation on Crude Oil Rail Lines Program: $69.624 million

    Facilities Capital Program (Trunk Highway Cash): $40 million

    Minneapolis 10th Avenue SE Bridge over the Mississippi River: $31.875 million

    St. Paul Kellogg/Third Street Bridge reconstruction: $42.92 million

    Duluth Airport Authority: $5.274 million

    Rochester International Airport Customs and Border Patrol Improvements: $4.985 million

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    Notably missing: Any money for transit projects including the Gateway bus rapid transit project, the Bottineau or the Southwest light rail projects. Governor Dayton indicated that the costs associated with these projects should be paid for through a metro-area sales tax rather than bonding.

    Water Quality & Environment

    A major function of bonding bills is to help maintain publicly-owned infrastructure. Many small towns have out-of-date and crumbling drinking and wastewater facilities. Improvements or building new systems is so costly – many towns require state assistance before they can move forward. Governor Dayton’s investment of $220 million to help aid communities across the state is 3-4 times the average amount spend on water quality projects. According to the EPA, Minnesota communities will need $11 billion in water infrastructure improvements over the next two decades. Read more about the importance of repairing water infrastructure here.

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    Water Infrastructure Initiative: State Matching Funds for U.S. EPA Grants: $25 million

    Water Infrastructure Initiative: Wastewater Infrastructure Fund: $80 million

    Water Infrastructure Initiative: Point Source Implementation Grants: $62 million

    Natural Resources Asset Preservation: $33 million

    Dam Safety Repair, Reconstruction & Removal: $7 million

    St. Louis River Area of Concern (SLRAOC): $12.705 million

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    Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) Reserve Program: $30 million

    Notable: The Governor is clearly making water quality and safe drinking and wastewater infrastructure a priority with investments of $220 million in his bonding proposal. The Senate Bonding Tour visited dozens of small towns across the state, many with failing or badly out of date wastewater infrastructure. Many of these small communities are incapable of covering the costs of building a new system on their own.

    Arts & Culture & Parks

    In addition to preserving our state’s assets, bonding can also help maintain and build the things that make Minnesota a great place to live, work and play. The Governor’s bonding proposal includes several investments in places many Minnesotans love – including the Minnesota Zoo, Como Zoo and regional parks across the metro area.

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    Historic Fort Snelling Visitor Center: $34 million

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    Metropolitan Regional Parks: $10 million

    Minnesota Zoo; Heart of the Zoo 2: $17.78 million

    Como Zoo Habitat Preservation Exhibit Renovation: $14.5 million 

    Science Museum of Minnesota Building Preservation: $13 million 


    Home is the foundation for stable families, strong communities, and a competitive state. Housing infrastructure bonds help pay to build new homes for low-income families, while investments in public housing rehabilitation helps maintain and rehab existing housing stock. The Dorothy Day Revision investment will help create a more dignified setting for homeless in St. Paul, while also providing more resources to get the homeless back on their feet.

    Housing Infrastructure Bonds: $70 million.

    Public Housing Rehabilitation: $20 million

    Dorothy Day Revision Phase 2: $14. 5 million

    Notable: The $90 million for public housing builds on the successes of the 2014 Bonding Bill when the legislature voted to invest $100 million in housing infrastructure bonds – helping house hundreds of homeless Minnesotans.
  • Higher Education

    Higher education investments are always an important part of any bonding bill. This year Gov. Dayton invested $343 million into MnSCU and the University of Minnesota. Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement (HEAPR) makes up a large portion of this investment – helping make critical repairs to hundreds of buildings across the state. Dayton said he could have spent nearly the entire $1.4 billion bonding bill on higher education alone – that statement speaks volumes about the need on our college and university campuses. The Senate bonding tour visited more than a dozen campuses this fall, and saw a trend of buildings constructed in the 1960’s and 70’s that have fallen into disrepair – built much more poorly than other buildings constructed during the first half of the 20th century.

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    MnSCU: $80 million HEAPR (Higher Education Asset Preservation & Replacement)

    South Central College, North Mankato – STEM and Healthcare Design and Renovation: $8.6 million

    Bemidji State University – Academic Learning Center (Hagg Sauer Replacement) Design and Renovation: $18.097 million.

    Rochester Community and Technical College – Memorial and Plaza Halls Removal, Design Renovation & Construction: $20.385 million

    Winona State University – Education Village Phase 2, Renovation & Demolition: $25.306 million

    St. Cloud State University – Student Health and Academic Renovation: $18.572 million

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    University of Minnesota: $55 million in HEAPR

    Chemistry and Advanced Materials Science Building (U of M-Duluth): $27.167 million

    Health Science Education Facility (U of M-Twin Cities): $66.667 million

    Plant Growth Research Facility (U of M-Twin Cities/St. Paul campus): $4.4 million

    Corrections, Human Services & Public Safety

    The Governor’s bill prioritizes protecting all Minnesotans, and that includes asset preservation at prisons, and important security upgrades as well as less restrictive, community-based changes to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program. Investments to an emergency operations center prioritizes proper training for our state police and fire employees.

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    Saint Cloud Intake, Health Services & Loading Dock: $19 million. This allocation would help complete phase 2 of this project.

    MN Security Hospital Phase 2: $70.255 million.

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    MN Sex Offender Program (St. Peter) Phase 2: $14.5 million

    MN Sex Offender Program Less Restrictive Alternatives: $12.42 million

    New State Emergency Operations Center: $33.302 million

    Notably Missing: Rush City Prison expansion request of $141 million to help alleviate prison overcrowding across the state.

    Business and Economic Development

    Many investments in the Governor’s proposal will help spur greater economic development, bringing jobs and people into communities. All of these investments are designed to strengthen communities, modernize aging infrastructure systems and help aid local businesses. The Governor’s $1.4 billion proposal is projected to create nearly 40,000 jobs in Minnesota.

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    Business Development Public Infrastructure (BDPI): $21 million.

    Bemidji Regional Dental Facility: $6 million

    Duluth Energy Systems – Superior Street steam to hot water conversion project: $21 million

    Hennepin County Regional Medical Examiner’s Facility: $25.932 million

    Red Wing River Town Renaissance: $4 million

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    Lewis and Clark Regional Water System: $16 million

    Transportation Economic Development Grants – $10 million

    Notably missing: any money for Greater Minnesota veteran’s homes.