Gov. Mark Dayton

CHICAGO - The Minnesota Legislature on Friday approved a $1 billion package of capital projects to be primarily financed with general obligation borrowing.

The House early Friday approved the package known as the bonding bill and the Senate later followed. Lawmakers approved $846 million of borrowing to finance most of the package and separately approved using cash to finance the remainder. The borrowing required a three-fifths majority while the use of cash required just a simple majority.

The votes came after Republicans and members of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party who control the Legislature resolved a dispute over funding for a specific project, followed by negotiations with representatives for Gov. Mark Dayton to ensure the package was veto-proof.

The package provides $100 million for state roads, bridges, and infrastructure work, $126 million to complete work on the restoration of the state capitol, $120 million for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, and $119 million for the University of Minnesota.

The Department of Natural Resources would see $66 million in investments, Metropolitan Council projects would receive $46 million, and local economic development projects including work on civic centers, infrastructure, and theater projects would receive $167 million.

The package also authorizes $80 million in appropriation-backed borrowing for the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency.

The state typically passes a large bonding bill in the year after approving a two-year operating budget, although smaller bills are often also approved alongside the operating budget.

Lawmakers last year approved a $156 million program. Two years ago lawmakers approved a $566 million bonding package after Dayton asked for $750 million. The state's $5.7 billion of general obligation bonds carry ratings in the high-double-A category.

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