Dayton to make water systems a spending priority
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton will propose borrowing considerable sums this year to improve the state's water systems, he said Tuesday."I'm going to come out on Thursday as part of the bonding (bill) with a big water quality initiative,"...
ST. PAUL - Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton will propose borrowing considerable sums this year to improve the state’s water systems, he said Tuesday.
“I’m going to come out on Thursday as part of the bonding (bill) with a big water quality initiative,” Dayton told the Pioneer Press.
Dayton, who is mandated to release his borrowing proposal by Friday, will disclose part of it a day early. He is expected to propose spending at least $1 billion on water and other projects across the state.
On Tuesday, he said he will suggest the Legislature focus much of its attention on the state’s need to protect its waters.
“There’s a lot more to be done with this water quality thing. It’s alarming,” Dayton said.
He acknowledged that water quality projects had not been his focus for the first five years of his governance.
“I missed it earlier; I wish I hadn’t. But I’m on it now, and I’m realizing that this is a public health issue, it’s a quality of life,” he said.
Last year, Dayton urged the Legislature to adopt an ambitious program requiring vegetative buffers between lakes and streams and industrial and agricultural lands. In the face of some rural objections, the Legislature adopted a slightly less ambitious plan.
House and Senate members who concentrate on borrowing measures have said they want this year’s bonding bill focused on fixing existing structures, not on fancy new buildings.
Legislators, too, have seen the need for water and sewer projects.
Many small towns have outdated systems that fail modern standards but do not have the fiscal resources to fix them without state help.
Dayton is expected to release his full list of borrowing proposals Friday.