Word of the Week: Bipartisan
MN Legislature Passes Transportation Budget and a Broad Infrastructure Deal Struck in D.C.
Governor Walz has the state’s transportation budget bill for FY 2022-23 on his desk, just hours after the Senate unanimously passed it Thursday afternoon. He has indicated he will sign the $7.27 billion dollar bill, which also received strong bipartisan support from the House when they debated the bill on Wednesday. With these assurances, state projects will not be directed to pause or stop. The bill includes $220.4 million in net General Fund spending over base budget with $6.49 billion for the Department of Transportation, $516.3 million for the Department of Public Safety and $235.7 million for the Metropolitan Council. It also contains over $400 million in trunk highway bonds.
MnDOT relayed that they will send out a rescission of their official notice to contractors regarding shutdown planning after the Governor has signed the bill into law.
As evidenced by the news stories over the last few weeks, as well as references by legislators during debate, AGC member voices were clearly heard regarding the negative impacts that are imposed on contractors when shutdown planning begins. Thank you to everyone who reached out to your legislators and leadership!
Below are some of the transportation provisions of high interest to AGC members:
- $100 million increase in State Road Construction
- $413 million in Trunk Highway Bonds
- $113m will go to specific regional and community investment projects: o Ramsey/Gateway/US Hwy 10 ($31m), US Hwy 10 in Wadena ($30m), I-94 Westbound in Albertville ($27m), and US Hwy 212 in Carver County ($25m)
o $100m State Road Construction
o Additional $200m in FY 24-25 for the Corridors of Commerce Program
- Extension of the Construction Manager/General Contractor (CMGC) procurement program from 10 to 20 projects and reduction of the annual cap on projects from four to three/year
- Study of work zone safety and speed management by MnDOT and the Dept. of Public Safety
- Study by the University of MN on the impacts of the pandemic on public transportation
What About Bonding?
There is a bill moving that would make corrections to the historic 2020 bonding bill, but there has not been agreement on a separate, smaller ($400-$500m) public works bill this year.
Other Special Session Negotiations
There are 13 budget areas for the State that require action. As of Friday morning, the Legislature has passed six budget bills. Five more are slated to be heard today and tomorrow, and another two areas have negotiated agreements publicly available. The sole area that has yet to wrap up negotiations is Judiciary/Public Safety. However, a wrinkle has been added to the State Government bill with a likely amendment in the Senate to end the Governor’s emergency powers on July 1. The Governor has stated he plans to end the peacetime state of emergency related to the pandemic on August 1.
Reminder: COVID-19 Business Requirements Expire Next Week
On May 6, Governor Tim Walz announced an off-ramp for pandemic-related limitations and issued Executive Order 21-21- Safely Sunsetting COVID-19 Public Health Restrictions
. The order began a three-step process to end current restrictions related to the pandemic and the third and final step is approaching. Until June 30, 2021 (or until 70% of Minnesotans aged 16+ receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine), business and places of public accommodation are subject only to limited requirements in the COVID-19 Universal Guidance for All Businesses and Entities. Businesses can continue to impose their own limitations or restrictions, such as face coverings.
Capitol news at both the state and federal level is rapidly changing. You can expect a more detailed post-session review of the transportation bill, taxes (includes PPP conformity), and other measures affecting the construction industry in the coming weeks. Please contact Laura Ziegler
, Director of Highway/Heavy and Government Affairs, with any questions in the meantime.