ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Gov. Tim Walz unveiled a massive public works bill Tuesday that he says is urgently needed.
The governor is making the case that Minnesota needs to move aggressively to fix its crumbling infrastructure, and the sweeping public projects bill puts it all on the table.READ MORE: Plymouth Hospital Set To Close Temporarily As Nurses Go On Strike Over Fair Pay
Walz presented his billion-dollar package at a renovated Fort Snelling horse stable, that’s now transitional housing for 58 homeless veterans.
Walz is betting $150 million he can make a dent in Minnesota’s housing crisis.
“Our goal is to be the fourth state to eliminate veteran homelessness. And we want to be the first state to eliminate homelessness in general,” Walz said.
Housing is only one part of the ambitious public works plan.
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There’s $52 million to separate dangerous oil train crossings in Moorhead; $345 million for transportation and transit; $300 million for higher education buildings; and $57 million for upgrading dangerously outdated prisons.
“We have a correctional facility where an entire cell block is opened by pulling a lever. A handle. It’s 2019. This is not Shawshank. This is not a movie. This is real life, where people deserve to be safe in their workplaces,” Walz said.
A top Senate Republican is tapping the breaks on borrowing $1 billion for construction projects.
“We’re not saying ‘no,’ to a bonding bill. We’re saying ‘not yet,'” Sen. Dave Senjem said.
And in the House, a, “We’ll see.”
Walz says there’s no time to wait, and hit back at Republican reactions to his biggest plans.MORE NEWS: 2 Pedestrians Shot And Injured In South Minneapolis
“Transportation package: no. Education package: no. Health care package and provider tax: no. Bonding bill: no. ‘No’ is not a plan for the future,” Walz said.