MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Gov. Tim Walz revealed Monday the fourth pillar of his agenda for the bonding bill, announcing that he wants $488 million for investments in higher education.

In a press release, the governor said the investments would go toward maintaining and updating campuses, from two-year technical schools to four-year universities, and toward modernizing the student experience. He spoke to reporters about the plan at the campus of Anoka-Ramsey Community College, where the nursing program is running out of space.

“Every Minnesotan deserves access to opportunities that will lead to a bright future, and for many, that means attending a higher education institution,” Walz said, in a statement. “But insufficient space, aging facilities, and outdated technology on college campuses aren’t just holding our students back – they’re holding Minnesota back in the face of a workforce shortage that’s impacting every corner of the state.”

Most of the funding for Walz’s education spending proposal is slated to come from $447 million in general obligation bonds. An additional $41 million would be leveraged from Minnesota state financing, for a total of $488 million.

This proposed education spending is part of Walz’s “Local Jobs and Projects Plan” for the state bonding bill. The governor is seeking around $2 billion for his agenda, which also includes funding for affordable housing ($276 million) and clean water ($300 million). Details on the fourth element of Walz’s plan, which will be focused on public safety, have yet to be announced.

Already, Republicans say his proposal is too expensive. They would like to see a bonding bill that tops out around $1 billion.

The Minnesota Legislature takes up a bonding bill every two years to fund major projects. Walz will need the support of some Republicans if his agenda is to pass in the Minnesota House.

The 2020 Minnesota Legislative session starts early next month.

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