Minnesota legislators last week approved a bonding bill that funnels money to several area projects.
The package, which includes $846 in general obligation bonds and $200 million in one-time expenditures to finance projects with statewide significance, provides money for the Reif Performing Arts Center, the U.S. 53 relocation, Vermilion State Park, Giant’s Ridge, Range Regional Airport and numerous educational institutions.
State Rep. Tom Anzelc (DFL – Balsam Township) said $3.9 million will help finance the renovation of Reif Performing Arts Center.
“The Reif Center renovation has been a big priority of mine for some time now,” he said. “A lot of credit goes to our local partners for contributing matching dollars. I couldn’t be happier knowing that future generations will have the opportunity to enjoy art, culture and theater in our region.”
Anzelc promoted improvements at Itasca Community College, including a renovation of the biology lab in Wilson Hall and construction of a new campus-wide biomass heating system.
“I’m very pleased with the investments this bill makes in our universities and community colleges,” Anzelc said. “A high-quality learning environment is a key ingredient for academic success. It’s a fine compliment to the steps we took last year to make college more affordable by freezing tuition and boosting financial aid. And the biomass heating system for Itasca Community College is of course good for our region’s logging industry.”
The bonding bill also includes:
• $19.5 million to relocate utilities and trails in conjunction with the relocation of U.S. Highway 53, a project that will allow United Taconite and RGGS Land and Minerals to expand their mining operations.
• $14 million for the development of Vermilion State Park and $3.8 million to construct and furnish a new multiuse, year-round event center at Giants Ridge Resort.
• $5 million to demolish the existing terminal and construct a new passenger terminal for the Range Regional Airport.
• $3.3 million for improvements to campus buildings in the Northeast Higher Education District, including Itasca, Hibbing, Rainy River and Vermillion Community Colleges.
• $3 million to design a new office building to house the Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency and Range Mental Health Center.
Elsewhere in Minnesota, it will:
• Provide $126 million for completion of the State Capitol renovation.
• $279 million in total funding for higher education projects for the University of Minnesota and MnSCU.
• $113 million for roads, bridges and vital transportation infrastructure.
• $100 million for housing, the largest investment in state history.