ST. PAUL, Minn. – Republicans in the Minnesota Senate blocked a bill for $1.5 billion in public works projects statewide. The bill won a majority of 33-32, but bonding bills require a 60% threshold to pass. The issue, said Republicans leaders, was not whether the projects proposed by Democratic Governor Tim Walz were worthwhile. Nor was it reluctance about borrowing. Then why the GOP opposition? Republican leaders said that Democrats hadn’t consulted them sufficiently on a broad range of other issues. In other words, the 60% requirement was being used as leverage to get Democrats to yield on other issues, notably the Republican version for tax relief from the state’s budget surplus. The surplus is growing and now is projected at a whopping $19 billion.

Earlier: How they voted: Minnesota infrastructure / 1

Earlier: House OKs borrowing for infrastructure projects

Earlier: Walz budget: $4.8 million for WSU classroom design

In jeopardy

Among southeast Minnesota  projects tied up in the infrastructure bill:
>  $11.4 million for improvements at Rochester International Airport.

> $10 million for an Olmted County waste materials recovery facility.

 > $4.8 million for designing a classroom building at Winna State University.

> Housing and infrastructure projects.

Recent history

The Legislature failed to approve infrastructure borrowing in 2022 in a showdown between Republicans, who then controlled the Senate, and Governor Tim Walz, a Democrat. Nobody blinked. As a result the state has not had infrastructure improvements make it through the legislative process since 2021.