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Local projects are vetoed by Pawlenty

ST. PAUL - Gov. Tim Pawlenty vetoed a $14 million construction project at Ridgewater College and $2 million for a local recreation trail from the bonding bill.

The Governor cut more than $143 million designated for higher education, most of it coming from funding designated for the Minnesota State Colleges and University System. This includes $14.3 million for technical instruction renovation at Ridgewater, said Rep. Al Juhnke, DFL-Willmar.

Pawlenty also cut the entire $21 million set aside for state trail acquisition and development. About $2 million had been requested for a five-mile bituminous extension of the Glacial Lakes State Trail from New London to Sibley State Park.

Juhnke said Pawlenty's reduction of the nearly $1 billion bonding bill down to $680 million is a missed opportunity to put people to work.

"Thousands of Minnesota construction workers are sitting on the bench, waiting to be called back to work," said Juhnke. "As a result of the Governor's cuts, as many as 7,000 will stay on the bench -thousands of those in rural Minnesota. This is a clear indication of this Governor's misplaced priorities."

In addition to higher education and trails, he cut funding for three regional civic centers, Reinvest in Minnesota funding, which pays for conservation efforts that protect water quality, reduce soil erosion and help with flood control, nearly $45 million for Greater Minnesota and metro transit, and dozens of local projects across the state, said Juhnke.

Kept intact was funding for a Minneapolis Veterans Home, which the Governor inserted into the bill last week in place of the Kandiyohi County Veterans Geriatric Mental Illness facility.

"This Governor has once again told us if we don't do it his way, he'll do it his way- this time at the expense of thousands of Minnesota families,college students and communities."