Minnesota bonding bill: "Deal or No Deal?"

The Minnesota House and Senate conference committee released its bonding bill list today and there’s some good news for northern Minnesota.

Among other smaller projects across the Iron Range, Itasca County would receive $28 million for infrastructure for Essar’s proposed Minnesota Steel plant near Nashwauk. That’s not nearly the amount required to build the pipeline, roads and railways needed, but it’s something and probably keeps the project going after Iron Range Resources makes up the difference.
(By the way, the position of this blog is “Minnesota Steel good, Mesaba Energy Project bad.” You know that’s an honestly held position because one part of it or the other angers 95 percent of my readers).
It’s aggravating that the governor has insisted that IRR use its funds from one-time mineral taxes to build basic infrastructure, but at least it didn’t take us half a decade to get anything at all. (I’m talking about you, DECC expansion in Duluth).

The bill rolls in at $925 billion. Gov. Tim Pawlenty says he wants it to stay at $825. He has the option of line item vetoing projects on the list or he can veto the whole bill and make the legislature do the trimming. I think it’s more likely he’ll veto the whole thing or just sign it. He’s can try to blame the DFL for everything by vetoing it. He can also show bipartisan election year appeal by signing it. Based on how things have progressed in the session so far, I’d prepare for the prior. The Minnesota Republican strategy so far has been “no deals, take it to the election.” In truth that’s not a bad plan for them since they’re safely entrenched in most of the seats that are up this year. But boy, a deal made this year would sure go a long way to helping smooth things over in the state.

So, T-Paw. What will it be. Deal? Or no deal?

(Let’s hope this one doesn’t end with a sad family looking at a briefcase full of $100 and a long plane ride back to Appalachia).

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