Minnesota governor signs $2 billion bonding bill with focus on transportation

October 28, 2020

Keith Goble

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A new law in Minnesota will allow the state to borrow nearly $2 billion for projects that include transportation work.

Gov. Tim Walz has signed into law the state’s largest bonding package in history. The $1.87 billion bonding bill is touted to help pay for hundreds of infrastructure projects throughout the state.

“This historic bonding bill includes investments that will help build stronger, safer, and more equitable communities across the state,” Walz said in prepared remarks after signing HF1.

The House and Senate voted to approve the bill during a fifth special session that wrapped up after approval of the bonding bill. Legislators intended to get a deal done before the regular session’s May end date, but were sidetracked due to the pandemic.

Attention to transportation

A major focus of the bonding bill is transportation. Infrastructure work for projects that include local roads and bridges totals $627 million.

Attention was also given to the areas of sewer and water systems and higher education.

The bulk of the money will come via the sale of general obligation bonds. The $1.36 billion in bonds will be repaid with income, sales, and other general state taxes.

Another $300 million in highway bonds will be financed with fuel taxes, license tab fees and motor vehicle sales taxes.

According to House media, the highway money will be applied for purposes that include $7.17 million for patrolling highways, and $648,000 for state patrol commercial vehicle enforcement staff and operating costs.

Rep. Mary Murphy, DFL-Hermantown, said the money will be applied for projects throughout the state.

“The highway bonds will cover not only the roads and bridges of the state, and township roads, but railroad grade separations, and MnDOT facilities that are in great need across the state,” Murphy said during discussion on the bill.

Critics say they are concerned about the bill’s costs and how much borrowing would add to the state’s budget deficit.

A full list of projects included in the bill is available. LL

More Land Line coverage of news from Minnesota is available.

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Keith Goble

Keith Goble has been covering trucking-related laws since 2000. His daily web reports, radio news and “OOIDA’s State Watch” in Land Line Magazine are the industry’s premier sources for information regarding state legislative affairs.