Phase one of the 2020 bonding bill process concluded this week when Gov. Walz completed the release of his proposed bonding projects. There is a lot in the Governor’s proposal for Greater Minnesota to be excited about. First, it’s the largest bonding proposal we have seen from a governor. At $2.028 billion, it represents an aggressive investment proposal on the critical needs of the state.
 
We are pleased to see a number of CGMC priorities included. The proposal includes $300 million for water infrastructure, including $200 million for the Public Facilities Authority. It includes $100 million for the Local Road Improvement Fund and $112 million for the Local Bridge Replacement Program.
 
The $200 million for the Public Facilities Authority will benefit many CGMC communities, with $25 million going to the state revolving loan programs, $100 million going to the Water Infrastructure Fund for supplemental grants and $75 million for the Point Source Implementation Grant Program. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has also proposed a new program aimed at addressing the impacts of extreme weather on a city’s stormwater infrastructure. The bonding bill proposes $15 million for the new Sustainable Communities and Climate Resiliency program.  

CGMC housing and child care priorities were also included in the proposal. For housing, the Governor requests $200 million in new funding for housing infrastructure. The funds would be available for private for-profit and non-profit developers for supportive housing, preservation, community land trust, senior housing and manufactured home parks. The Governor also included $10 million in funding for a child care facility grant program, much like CGMC is advocating for. Unfortunately, the Governor recommends housing the program at the Department of Human Services, while the CGMC’s position is that a program like this is best administered by the Department of  Employment and Economic Development (DEED).
 
Although Gov. Walz recommended a new investment in the Business Development Public Infrastructure Program (BDPI), his proposal falls short of what Greater Minnesota will need over the next two years. The Governor recommends adding $9 million into the program. Unfortunately, based on our analysis of past demand, the program will need up to $20 million to fund all qualified projects. This is a well-proven program that has benefited numerous Greater Minnesota communities, so the CGMC will be working hard to ensure it is adequately funded going forward. 
 
Finally, the proposal includes a lot of individual local projects spread throughout Greater Minnesota, focused on water quality, road and safety improvements, and community assets.
 
The release of the Governor’s recommendations is the first step in the 2020 bonding deliberations. On Feb. 11, the Legislature will reconvene for the legislative session and begin crafting the House and Senate’s individual bonding proposals. Earlier this week, the Senate GOP held a press conference where they laid out their legislative priorities for the Senate. While they have yet to announce details of a bonding proposal, the Senate has said their package will focus heavily on transportation and infrastructure and is expected to come in far below the Governor’s $2 billion proposal. 

For more information on the Governor’s proposal, including a map of proposed projects, click HERE