Minnesota House approves $1.9B public works package with key Duluth priorities

The bonding bill has an uncertain future in the Senate
Democratic Minnesota House Speaker Melissa Hortman, of Brooklyn Park, speaks at a news...
Democratic Minnesota House Speaker Melissa Hortman, of Brooklyn Park, speaks at a news conference at the State Capitol in St. Paul, Minn., on Monday, March 6, 2023, about a $1.9 billion public infrastructure package for fixing up roads, bridges, water systems, college facilities and parks and trails across the state. She was joined by Democratic Rep. Fue Lee, of Minneapolis, chair of the House Capital Investment Committee. (AP Photo/Steve Karnowski)(Steve Karnowsk | AP)
Published: Mar. 6, 2023 at 9:23 PM CST
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ST. PAUL, MN. (Northern News Now) - The Minnesota House passed two bills on Monday that included funding for several local projects within the city of Duluth.

The bills, a $1.5 billion bonding bill, and a $393 million cash bill include money to fix up roads, bridges, water systems, college facilities, and parks and trails.

Locally in Duluth, the bonding bill allows for integrated manufacturing workforce labs at Lake Superior College and improvements at the Duluth Veterans Cemetary. Funding for Gitchi Gami and Mesabi State Trails was included as well.

The bonding for the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District’s combined heat and power system would also be extended.

The cash bill includes $5 million for renovations at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center, $13 million for repair and replacement of facilities and Spirit Mountain, and $4.5 million for Armory Arts and Music Center renovations.

A $7.5 million grant for the new Hermantown Ice Arena was also part of the bill.

Both bills passed the House with bipartisan support. But the bonding bill’s future in the Senate is uncertain.

Bonding bills require a three-fifths supermajority to pass chambers.

While the bill surpassed that threshold in the House, Senate Republicans have signaled they will block its passage to negotiate for their version of tax cuts using Minnesota’s $17 billion surplus.

DFL lawmakers have the option of using another cash bill to cover what was proposed in the recent bonding bill. This would circumvent needing seven key Republican votes in the House but would leave less money available for tax cuts.

Both bills now head to the Minnesota Senate.