With only a week to go in the 2016 legislative session, union leaders are urging lawmakers to get serious about passage of a bonding bill to fund important infrastructure projects.
Bonding would also create an estimated 40,000 construction jobs, the union officers said at a news conference Friday.
“The clock is ticking,” noted Seide. “It’s time for less partisanship and more productivity from Speaker [Kurt] Daudt and the House Republicans.”
“Get something done!” urged Melander, noting that Minnesotans have an expectation that the state’s infrastructure – from roads to schools – be properly maintained.
“The need is critical and interest rates are historically low,” said McCarthy. “Passing a bonding bill this year is common sense.”
On May 5, the Minnesota Senate fell one vote short of passing a $1.5 billion statewide jobs and infrastructure bill proposed by DFL Governor Mark Dayton. Twenty Republicans opposed the measure. Projects that would have been funded included water quality, higher education needs, rail and pipeline safety, bridge repairs, housing and economic development.
The Republican-controlled House has yet to propose a bonding bill.
Jackie Spanjers, a nurse at the Anoka Regional Treatment Center, said workers can’t wait any longer for safer mental health facilities to be built to house violent offenders.
“Violent offenders are assaulting staff in record numbers,” she told reporters.
A bonding bill is one of several issues yet to be addressed in the 2016 session. Another is transportation. For years, labor, business and community leaders have been pressing for more investment, yet no action has been taken.
“We support a transportation bill … with new and sustained funding for roads, bridges and transit,” said McCarthy.
By law, the Legislature must adjourn on Monday, May 23. According to Session Daily, a publication of the Legislature, “Legislative leaders have indicated transportation needs to be addressed before other issues can be resolved.”