Gov. Mark Dayton proposed a $1.5 billion bonding bill on Tuesday that includes nearly $300 million in spending for the University of Minnesota campuses.
Dayton’s public works package matches the University’s entire 2018 capital request of $238.5 million, plus an additional $60 million for critical facilities maintenance and the design of a new clinical research facility on the University’s Twin Cities campus.
“Since 2011, we have made many important investments in Minnesota’s aging classrooms, buildings and other critical infrastructure,” Dayton said in a statement. “But those investments have not kept pace with the enormous need for infrastructure improvements across Minnesota.”
The University’s 2018 state bonding request includes:
· $200 million for Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement (HEAPR)
· $24 million for a Pillsbury Hall renovation
· $10.5 million for the renovation and renewal of coordinate campus classrooms and laboratories
· $4 million for repairs of Duluth’s Glensheen mansion.
Dayton’s proposal also includes $243 million for the Minnesota State system.
In his statement, Dayton said his plan will help invest in the state’s future, adding that underinvestment in past years has “shortchanged” higher education.
University President Eric Kaler issued a statement Tuesday urging the Legislature to pass the governor’s proposal in order to address the University’s infrastructure needs.
“Gov. Dayton’s public works proposal supports improvements on our campuses, helping to reduce a backlog in deferred building maintenance while making strategic investments to renew facilities,” Kaler said.
Last year, lawmakers approved around $120 million of the University’s $245.1 million bonding request.
“I am pleased the governor released an aggressive bill,” said Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul, DFL lead on the House Capital Investment committee, in a statement. “Minnesota communities are counting on the legislature to help them fund and improve water infrastructure facilities, housing, higher education and upgrade unsafe railroad crossings among other critical requests.”
The 2018 Minnesota legislative session begins Feb. 20.