Editorial: Pawlenty sets good goals for bonding
Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced his 2006 bonding plan Monday totaling $897 million for public works, but said he was open to spending more. That is a positive step in the process compared with two years ago when the governor refused to consider going...
Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced his 2006 bonding plan Monday totaling $897 million for public works, but said he was open to spending more.
That is a positive step in the process compared with two years ago when the governor refused to consider going over his announced bonding proposal total and no bonding agreement was reached.
After all, Pawlenty and legislative leaders are not that far apart this year. Compared to the Pawlenty bonding proposal of $897 million, the House leadership is seeking $911 million and the Senate leadership is seeking $965 million.
These proposals are reasonable starting points for the Republican-controlled House and the DFL-controlled Senate. We hope the two can find the art of compromise this year and include Pawlenty in the process.
There is going to be debate over various segments of Pawlenty's bonding proposal. As Sen. Keith Langseth, DFL-Glyndon, pointed out Monday, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system received only $280 million, compared with a need of $500 million just for repair and maintenance needs. And Rep. Dan Dorman, R-Albert Lea, the $30 million recommended for road and bridge funding needs to be increased.
Overall, the governor's plan contained some good goals. The proposal targeted $289 million for education, $209 million for environment and agriculture, $141 for transportation and $70 million for criminal justice.
Specific projects recommended for funding included $60 million for the Northstar commuter rail line from Big Lake to Minneapolis, $2.5 million for planning for the Central Corridor, a potential light rail line between St. Paul and Minneapolis downtowns, and $2.1 million for the Minnesota Zoo.
Overall, Pawlenty's plan is a good starting point for finding an agreement with the Legislature this year.