Walz asks lawmakers to back record $2.7 billion bonding bill

Published 1:50 pm Tuesday, January 18, 2022

MINNEAPOLIS — Gov. Tim Walz asked the Legislature on Tuesday to back a $2.7 billion “local jobs and projects” plan that’s considerably larger than the record package that lawmakers passed two years ago.

The Democratic governor unveiled his wish list at a news conference outside the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development, which is getting a major rebuild thanks to money from the $1.9 billion package approved by the 2020 Legislature.

Walz used the construction site as a backdrop to highlight how 38% of his proposal, or more than $1 billion, is for asset preservation to maintain and upgrade properties that taxpayers already own.

Another 21% — more than $560 million — would go to various new infrastructure projects, including $120 million for local bridge replacements, $90 million for local road improvements projects, and $200 million for local water infrastructure.

Sixteen percent would go toward housing, including projects to combat homelessness. And 10% would go toward protecting the environment.

Public works borrowing packages, also known as bonding bills, are traditionally the centerpiece of Minnesota’s legislative sessions in even-numbered years. Walz is unlikely to get everything he proposed. The final packages are usually the product of intense negotiations. Republicans who control the Senate, are expected to propose a smaller bill, while Walz’s allies in the Democratic-controlled House may try to add additional projects.