Minnesota governor proposes $1.5 billion of bonds for infrastructure

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 04, 2017 2:28 PM

(Reuters) - Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton unveiled a plan on Wednesday to fund a variety of infrastructure projects "vital" to the state's future with $1.5 billion of general obligation bonds.

The proposal is slightly bigger than the $1.4 billion bonding plan he proposed a year ago to the Democrat-controlled Senate and Republican-controlled House. A deal failed to materialize, leaving Minnesota without annual infrastructure funding.

The Democratic governor could face a tougher battle this year as Republicans control both legislative chambers after winning a one-seat majority in the Senate in the Nov. 8 election.

Dayton's plan includes funding to improve roads, bridges, water systems, higher education facilities and railroad safety.

Representatives for Republican legislative leaders could not immediately be reached for comment.

"This is a big proposal, but it is well within our fiscal capacity," Dayton told reporters, pointing to the state's high credit ratings and budget reserves.

He said he hopes lawmakers will recognize the importance of the projects and pass legislation quickly so that work can begin this spring.

"The cost of not doing these projects is greater than the cost of doing them," Dayton said.

(Reporting by Karen Pierog; editing by Grant McCool)