ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — The Minnesota Senate Wednesday unveiled a $496 million measure to fund construction projects around the state, setting off a parade of unhappy lawmakers whose projects didn’t make the cut.

Among them the projects left behind: No money for a St Paul Saints stadium, only $25 million for a massive State Capitol renovation that could stop the $250 million overhaul in its tracks and nothing for the top three projects in Minneapolis.

“Nicollet Mall reconstruction? A big fat zero,” said a dsappointed Sen. Linda Higgins, (DFL) Minneapolis. “The sculpture garden, that big parks board proposal? Big fat zero. The light rail line to the southwest corridor? Big fat zero.”

The light rail to the western suburbs is a top priority of businesses from Minneapolis to Eden Prairie, where the line would run.

But Republican leaders say those chambers of commerce didn’t make their case, and GOP lawmakers have serious concerns about whether light rail is necessary or cost effective.

“There’s a lot of policy issues related to extending light rail wherever that might be,” said Senate Majority Leader David Senjem, (R) Rochester. “If we had gotten a signal from the Transportation Committee that this is the future, this is where we want transportation to develop in Minnesota then i think we would have considered it with more vigor.”

The bill includes a $32 million civic center expansion for Rochester and a $10 million expansion for St. Cloud, but nothing for Mankato’s Civic Center.

Mankato City Council President Mike Laven issued a statement, calling the exclusion of his city’s project at the expense of St. Cloud and Rochester “unfair.”

“Funding for the civic center expansion is critical to securing the future of the MSU hockey program and the economic growth of the Greater Mankato region,” said Laven.

The Senate bill puts a stronger emphasis on colleges and universities.

Overall, said Senjem, it’s a compromise.

“Let’s not forget its about MNSCU. It’s about the University of Minnesota. It’s about roads and bridges. It’s about all those elements that are important to a lot of people.”

The single largest item left off the Senate list: The State Capitol itself.

The Capitol is literally falling apart and needs $250 million for restoration so extensive that the Governor and legislature must move out for several years.

Without at least $62 million in funding, work on the project could stop this summer.

Comments (30)
  1. Yaa boIIII says:

    Tell em to buy a mega million ticket. If they win, they should be fine.

  2. Grynch says:

    How about zero million dollars to renovate the state capitol.

    1. Citizen says:

      @Grynch. What a terrific idea. Let the building that belongs to all Minnesotans crumble from lack of maintenance. Then we can house our legislature and governor in a Wal-Mart/Menard’s style big box building which would be, oh, so classy! Is that what the voters REALLY want?

      1. minnesotan says:

        Actually, what’s the point of luxury and historic set pieces if they come at that ridiculous cost? These are relics we should probably put behind us, and lets get a modern hall for these activities. It would save on the cost and we could move forward as well.

      2. Grynch says:

        If you’re all for spending an outrageous amount of taxpayer’s dollars to give the already overpaid politicians a fancy office then suit yourself. If it’s crumbling from the inside out, then fix it, but let’s not spend $28 + million. How about we call Xzibit and make a reality show, we can call it “Pimp My Capitol Building.

      3. Kevin says:

        Ummmm he*l yea! Send them all to Wal Mart…..they all suck at their jobs now…..maybe mopping floors at Wal Mart suits them better…..Then lets fix the building and make it a Mosque for the Somalians…..or a Hmong Community Center…..or a NIgerian telecommunications center…….or a Mexican Hmong Nigerian Somali Hindu Vietnamese Laos African Emulsion School……..

  3. jack says:

    if you have no money for the vikings how dare you give money for a minor league baseball team house GOP

    1. stung4ever says:

      Did you read the article? The bill contains no money for the Saints.

  4. Jennie says:

    Stadiums, sculpture gardens, and mall improvements. What are these people on? We are in deep unemployment, prices rising on everything, gas going through the roof, and these people are spending money we don’t have.

  5. Ryan says:

    Lets give construcition a year or two off and get this stadium built already. I’m tired of hearing about “alternate routes.”

    Ya, MN is broke alright.


    1. A Voter says:

      GOPee on the vikings stadium, this is the first thing the republicans have gotten right since they were elected.

  6. customer says:

    Give GOP their $496 million bill so they can get stuck paying it.

    1. Josh says:

      You do realize that the Democrats wanted more money than that right? And that this was what the GOP came up with to PLACATE the Democrats right? The pure hatred shown towards people across the train tracks politically in this state suprises me sometimes. And, before I get shredded by all you leftys, it does go both ways.

      1. Glen D. says:

        Perhaps if you phrased things differently I would believe you. Screaming placate shows a hatred towards the democrats. You are what you complain of. BTW the bill funds projects in Republican dominated areas, hardly placating democrats. Ignorance goes both ways, but righties are out there on their comments not even bothering to look for facts

        1. Josh says:

          Ok, I am sorry I didnt phrase things in such a way as to please and/or convince you Glen. But the fact of the matter is, Dayton wanted $700+ million….and who is the leading Democrat in the state? How much did the republicans want to spend? Figure out that, then you can accuse me of not looking for facts. The attempt at placating the state Democrats seems obvious to me, if I am wrong please explain how instead of basically calling me ignorant.

  7. G Dog says:

    Exempt all of the rich Western suburbs from road improvements and wait for the howl of the wealthy. Gee, maybe taxes DO improve the roads.

    Minnetonka, Minnestrista, Wayzata, Orono and all the rest of you rich whiny sycophants can have your shocks and wheel alignments rattled on your BMWs, Mercedes, Lexuses and Cadillacs until you finally pay up.

    The Bush/conservative gravy train is OVER!

    1. T Cat says:

      Someone’s bitter that they don’t have money…

  8. TL says:

    $32 mil for Rochester
    $10 mil for St. Cloud
    $0 for Mankato’s Civic Center

    What makes Rochester so special?

    The republican geniuses that be couldnt spread the love of $42 mil total to all 3?

    Pretty ridiculous.


    1. Old nurse says:

      Check out where the Republican legislators are from and that is where the money is spent.

  9. KEVIN says:


    1. Tom says:

      @ Kevin

      What about the welfare handouts that the GOP has no problem giving the wealthy with all those tax breaks and tax cuts?

      1. Josh says:

        Allowing people to keep more of the money they earned isnt a handout, its simply not stealing from them more. The government isnt entitled to what its citizens earn.

  10. Barb Altman Cline says:

    When did the Capital start falling apart? Did we have an earth quake I missed? Why all of a sudden do repairs need to be done, and why is there no maintenance fund, or who raided if there was one.
    And to float bonds for 1/2 billion dollars with a less than perfect credit rating that’s going to be fun. Mabe they should have thought about that before they shut the state down last year and started the planning for doing it again this year.

    1. Old nurse says:

      Look at the recod of the governor who preceded Dayton for why there was no maintenance.

  11. T Cat says:

    There is no way to make everyone happy.

    If you want more projects, we all need to be taxed more. The capitol is not really “the people’s building” considering it is not always open to the public.

    I was on the Nicollet Mall last week eating lunch at a nice restaurant (they are all nice), I didn’t notice a huge need for renovations? And if there is a need, let the businesses take care of it the way they want it.

    I understand anger about the Mankato civic center –They need it more than Rochester or St. Cloud.

    As far as the light rail goes to the Southwest suburbs, I live down there. Southwest Transit does a fantastic job. Traffic isn’t great, but I think that a light rail project that way would need to wait at least another decade to be considered, to give the place more time to populate more, which it will. It would be a large waste of money, money we don’t have, to do it this year.

    1. Citizen says:

      @T Cat. Since when is the Minnesota State Capitol buliding in the Nicollet Mall? I’m pretty sure you can’t see our beautiful building in St. Paul from downtown Minneapolis. “let the businesses take care of it the way they want it.” What does that mean? The State Capitol building is taken care of by Minnesota taxpayers who own it. I think you are a tr0ll!

      1. JSing says:

        Yesterday Citizen wrote “Amen, frozenrunner. Even after I contacted WCCO about this, they don’t seem to have adjusted their WordPress program or monitored the comment boards any better than before. They just don’t care. In fact, I think ‘CCO likes the fact that people come on the site to read the nasty comments–gets the number of hits up so they can justify ad revenue. Take care.”
        Today Citizen writes “I think you are a tr0ll!”
        Looks like the pot is calling the kettle black.

  12. Jeff says:

    What is being overlooked here is that our U S senators had failed MN. Out of every $3 sent to Washington, we get back less than $2.50. We could build a new capital building and improve our roads if we just got our federal money back.

    1. Silly fools says:

      MN has always, repeat ALWAYS been stiffed on the return of Fed money. I hate this group in power today as much as any of them but I won’t lay this on them either.
      DC and other states view us as their checkbook over-draft credit line, always have.
      Here’s the thing I see coming – someday they will need, i mean NEED, water more than oil in this country. (((ssssshhhhhh))) what do we and a couple other states surround now? Huron and Erie salty to a point…..Superior is, well, Superior.
      When the day comes stick it up all their “”spots”” – we get $100 back for every $1 sent or they can airlift it over us. 😉 🙂

  13. Matt says:

    Repunblicans only fund things that they use. They make the 99% pay for their repairs.

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