After months of delay, stalemate, and disagreement, both the House and Senate have finally passed a bonding bill. The bonding investments were packaged with tax and supplemental budget items to form a large, special session omnibus bill. The bonding portion of the package totals nearly $1.9 billion in investments for projects around the state, split between general obligation bonds, trunk highway bonds, and other investments. You can see the final bill here.
The House passed the measure by a vote of 100-34 on Wednesday night after 10 hours of debate and a wave of amendments were considered. The Senate followed suit on Thursday, despite a number of Republican Senators expressing concern with some of the amendments added in the House, as well as frustration that the House adjourned its session sine die on Wednesday night, prohibiting the Senate from making any amendments to the bill. However, in the end, the bill passed in the Senate by an overwhelming 64-3 margin.
For the CGMC’s response, please see this media statement from CGMC President and Little Falls Mayor Greg Zylka.
It is possible you’ll hear different numbers used to describe the size of the bill as reporters and legislators sometimes highlight specific types of bonding when the discuss it. Here’s the breakdown:
- $1.37 billion in general obligation bonds
- $300 million in trunk highway bonds
- $147 million in appropriation bonds
- $38 million in general fund appropriations
As for CGMC priorities, the bill contains several items that our members have worked tirelessly to see included:
- $269 million for water infrastructure
- $116 million for housing programs
- $8.2 million for the Greater Minnesota Business Development Public Infrastructure Grant Program (BDPI)
- $30 million for local bridges program
- $75 million for local roads
The bill also includes CGMC-supported language that will create a child care facilities program, but no funding for the program. We are thrilled by the creation of this program and will make funding it in a future session a top priority.
So when will we start seeing the benefits of the bill? In short, right away. According to Minnesota Management & Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter’s comments in a Senate Capital Investment Committee hearing on Monday, because this bill was passed so untraditionally late in the calendar year, the state may not actually sell the bonds in the bill until next summer. Nonetheless, this will not delay the projects included in it. In fact, once the legislature has authorized the bill, the state has the ability to invest in the projects and keep them moving forward, even if the sale of the bonds themselves comes at a later date.
In closing, a sincere THANK YOU to all our members who reached out to legislators and helped us make the case that this bill was essential to pass this year. It was a long road, but the collective voice of CGMC members was a powerful factor in getting it done.