Gov. Mark Dayton’s $1.4 billion bonding proposal fully funds the top two bonding priorities for Minneapolis leaders — repairs for the 10th Avenue Bridge and an expansion of the city’s Emergency Operations and Training Facility.
The governor’s bonding bill includes $31.875 million to repair the 10th Avenue Bridge. Mayor Betsy Hodges’ 2016 budget also includes $10 million for the bridge, which spans the Mississippi River south of the I-35W bridge.
The four-lane, open-spandrel arch bridge is in need of repairs to fix deteriorated concrete areas on its columns, arches and floor beams. It was built in 1929 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Mayor Betsy Hodges issued a statement thanking the governor for fully funding the city’s request for the bridge. “The 10th Avenue bridge is a multi-modal artery that carries hundreds of thousands of people across the Mississippi every year and has not seen significant repairs since the 1970s,” she said.
The proposed $40 million renovation project is expected to extend the bridge’s lifespan by 40 years, according to the mayor’s office.
The governor’s bonding bill also includes $2.5 million for the an expansion project at the city’s Emergency Operations and Training Facility — a training venue for first responders. The money would be used to provide training in agency interoperability, tactical law enforcement, technical and structural collapse rescue, and large-scale transportation response, according to the mayor’s office.
“Governor Dayton also clearly understands the value of having well-trained first responders to deal with urban emergencies like building collages, chemical fires and trench rescues,” Hodges said. “Expanding the regional Emergency Operations and Training Facility ensures that first responders from throughout Minnesota are equipped to handle disasters in Minneapolis and around the state.”
The governor’s office estimates that the bonding package would create 39,000 jobs throughout the state. The proposal funds infrastructure projects throughout the state — 35 percent in Greater Minnesota, 35 percent in the Twin Cities metro area and 30 percent with a statewide impact.
“This bill will help deliver clean, affordable water to Minnesota communities, and prioritizes projects that have been delayed for many years,” Dayton said. “These projects are essential to improving our state’s infrastructure. I ask the Legislature to join me in working to pass a capital investment bill this session that will support our local economies and create jobs.”
The bonding proposal does not include funding for major transportation projects, such as Southwest LRT. Dayton has said there should be a separate transportation funding bill.
The lack of funding for transportation in the bonding bill prompted criticism from House Majority Leader Joyce Peppin, a Republican from Rogers.
“We are extremely disappointed that Governor Dayton failed to set aside even $1 for road and bridge infrastructure in Greater Minnesota or the suburbs,” Peppin said. “Fixing our state’s roads and bridges is a priority for Minnesotans in all parts of the state, and should be one of the first priorities in any bonding bill. Additionally, we have concerns about the hefty $1.4 billion price tag that includes wasteful projects like snowmaking machines in Saint Paul and ski lifts.”
The 2016 legislative session is scheduled to start March 8.