Dayton eyes $975 million in construction projects

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton says he is considering a state construction bill of $975 million, which is higher than prior expectations.

Dayton met Wednesday with key legislators involved in assembling the public works borrowing bill. He says a recent economic forecast showing a budget surplus gives the state more room to offset debt on projects.

Lawmakers have been inundated with $2.4 billion worth of requests. Dayton says the Capitol upgrade will require $125 million in next year’s bonding bill. The state’s prison system and sex offender treatment facilities also have steep needs. The Democratic governor will submit his formal proposal in January.

The bonding bill requires a three-fifths majority to pass, so Democrats must win over Republican votes. The specter of nearing or breaching $1 billion always proves politically challenging.

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