Newspaper article

Dayton's Bonding Priorities: Clean Water, Higher Ed and Public Safety

Newspaper article

Dayton's Bonding Priorities: Clean Water, Higher Ed and Public Safety

Article excerpt

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton kicked off the 2016 bonding debate this week with an ambitious $1.4 billion package of borrowing projects, focusing heavily on clean water, higher education and public safety projects.

Dayton stretched his bonding announcement into a two-day affair, proposing Thursday to spend $167 million to help mostly small, far- flung communities update their clean water infrastructure. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates there's an $11 billion need in Minnesota over 20 years to update aging wastewater treatment facilities and drinking water systems. Dayton, who is holding a clean water summit in February, said the issue will be one of his top priorities for his final three years in office.

"Minnesota has long been known for the abundance and quality of its water," Dayton said Thursday. "It's no longer something we can take for granted."

Dayton unveiled the rest of his bonding proposal Friday -- his largest bill yet -- investing heavily in infrastructure repairs on college campuses across the state, affordable housing and public safety improvements, including funds to construct less-restrictive housing options for offenders locked in the state's controversial sex offender program (a full list of the projects here, and a county- by-county breakdown here).

Some highlights:

* $135 million for repairs to buildings on University of Minnesota and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities campuses across the state

* $125 million for public safety, including $70.3 million to complete the renovation of the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter

* $85 million for oil rail safety improvements, including $69.6 million for highway rail grade separations in Moorhead, Prairie Island and Coon Rapids

* $90 million for affordable housing projects

* $42.9 million to rebuild the Kellogg Boulevard Bridge, which connects downtown St. …

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