Minnesota Governor Walz Announces Local Jobs, Projects Plan

Posted on February 23, 2021Comments Off on Minnesota Governor Walz Announces Local Jobs, Projects Plan

Plan invests $518.086 million in projects across the state to maintain existing assets, invest in communities, and leverage available federal funds

ST. PAUL, MN (STL.News) Governor Tim Walz today announced his 2021 Local Jobs and Projects Plan – his capital investment recommendation for the current legislative session.  The plan invests $518.086 million in infrastructure projects across the state to maintain existing buildings, invest in communities, and ensure that the state can leverage available federal funds.  Nearly half of the plan will support asset preservation projects at state agencies and higher education institutions.

“When Gwen and I bought our house in Mankato, we knew the importance of investing in upkeep over the years in order to avoid major repairs down the road. You fix your roof before it collapses.  You repair a leaky pipe before it leads to water damage.  That’s exactly what this plan prioritizes—taking care of what we have,” said Governor Walz.  “By maintaining existing assets, we can keep our state’s infrastructure strong and reliable for generations to come.  What’s more, we can create jobs that boost our economy in the process.”

“The 2021 Local Jobs and Projects Plan ensures our students are learning in safe and sufficient facilities, makes critical investments in our communities across the state, and allows us to leverage time-sensitive federal grant funds,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan.  “At a time when our communities need investment and our workers need jobs, this plan delivers.”

The 2021 Local Jobs and Projects Plan includes $240 million in General Obligation Bonds, $250 million in Appropriation Bonds and an additional $28.3 million in General Fund cash.  General Obligation Bonds are backed by the state’s full faith and credit and finance publicly owned capital projects.  Appropriation Bonds are repaid through annual appropriations from the Legislature and can be used to finance a broader range of capital projects.

MAINTAINING EXISTING ASSETS

Deferred maintenance needs for state agencies total more than $1.7 billion. Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan understand the importance of maintaining the assets we currently have.  Nearly half of their 2021 capital budget will support asset preservation projects at state agencies and higher education institutions, such as roof replacements and exterior repairs, renovation and repurposing of existing facilities to meet 21st century needs, and renewing buildings to keep Minnesotans safe and healthy.  Their recommendation also includes $43 million to make critical security upgrades to the Capitol Complex.  This amount fully funds the capital recommendation in the 2021 Advisory Committee on Capitol Area Security Annual Report.

INVESTING IN COMMUNITIES
Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan know that the decisions we make about our infrastructure will have an impact for 20 years or more.  The 2021 Local Jobs and Projects Plan makes smart investments that position Minnesota for future growth.  The plan includes $100 million in Housing Infrastructure Bonds to preserve and build new housing opportunities across the state.  Funds will be awarded through a competitive request for proposal process to private for-profit and nonprofit developers for supportive housing, preservation, and homeownership development including community land trusts, senior housing, and manufactured home park infrastructure.

The plan also includes $150 million in Redevelopment Appropriation Bonds to support rebuilding efforts in the cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul in the areas damaged by civil unrest in May and June 2020.  This investment will create or retain jobs; preserve the tax base; support enterprise development and wealth creation for persons adversely affected by long-standing structural racial discrimination and poverty; and help prevent displacement of low-income residents.

Additionally, Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan recommend $15 million to support capital projects from community-based organizations that are led by and serve communities of color and American Indians, as these organizations have not traditionally had access to capital investment from the state.

ENSURING FEDERAL FUNDS COME TO MINNESOTA
Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan are committed to ensuring that Minnesota does not lose time-sensitive federal funds for significant projects.  Their plan provides $14.5 million in General Obligation Bonds to retain federal matching funds. Without investment for these projects, Minnesota risks losing highly competitive federal funds to other states.

The plan recommends $4.5 million for a new State Veterans Cemetery in Redwood Falls.  The Veteran’s Affairs National Cemetery Administration’s Veterans Cemetery Grant Program will provide a $5.99 million federal grant for this project.  Additionally, the plan recommends $10 million for Minnesota’s share of design and environmental work for a second daily Amtrak train between the Twin Cities, Milwaukee, and Chicago, including stops in Winona and Red Wing.  The Federal Railroad Administration has awarded a $31.8 million Consolidated Railroad Infrastructure and Safety Initiative grant and a $12.6 million Restoration and Enhancement grant for this project.




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