The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

May 17, 2013

Minnesota House defeats construction projects bill

(Continued)

"The Capitol is a noble project, an important project. We should do it," she said. "But why is it more important than higher education, building laboratories and classrooms for all of our kids in the state?"

The vote against the bonding bill, as it is known, could carry political risks. Several Republicans voted against a plan for wastewater treatment and flood mitigation projects in their districts, and several were under pressure from local business groups to support civic center renovations in Mankato, Rochester and St. Cloud. Some of the nearly $200 million in college campus projects are in districts represented by Republicans.

Most of them will have another shot to advance the hometown projects before the next election. Big bonding bills usually are considered in election-year sessions.

But proponents of the defeated measure said forgoing a bill this year will come at a cost. There's no guarantee that currently low interest rates, which make construction dollars go further, will stay that way.

Rep. Lyndon Carlson, DFL-Crystal, said the projects would come at a perfect time in the state's economic recovery.

"We have many Minnesotans in the construction industry and the various support industries who are ready, willing and able to go to work," he said.

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Associated Press reporter Patrick Condon contributed to this report.

 

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