So May Projects, So Little Cash
So many worthy plans, so few dollars. As you know by now, $47.5 million is up for grabs as part of the state's 2012 bonding bill. The money will be awarded on a competitive basis to help fund development and construction projects across the state. With 90 applicants, some of which have made requests for more than half of the available money, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), along with Governor Dayton, have their work cut out for them.
Totaling $288.4 million, not all of the requests can be granted. Between the $27 million St. Paul requested for a new St. Paul Saints stadium, the $25 million Minneapolis requested to refurbish the Nicollet Mall, the $25 million Rochester requested for a Mayo Clinic civic/convention center, and the $14 million the Metropolitan Council requested for the Southwest LRT, receiving funding is a long shot for most projects, regardless of how beneficial they could be.
Funding one or two of these more expensive projects will eat up the budget; however, these projects also have the potential to bring in significant revenue and employment opportunities for the state.
While DEED will consider several different criteria in making its decision, many of the 90 applications, will not be considered because they do not meet DEED’s requirements for the money. DEED, according to an article, is focusing on “shovel ready projects with price tags over $1 million and would create jobs and boost the regional economy.”
Using the funds to help build a fire fighters training facility in Red Wing or to construct a water tower in Corcoran, would be nice, but with such limited funds, the bulk of the money could ultimately go to big-ticket projects in the major metropolitan areas.
The $240.9 million gap between the amount of money available and the amount of money requested shows a major problem within the Minnesota legislature. Necessary and valuable projects across the state will be passed over, left to scramble for funding simply because there is not enough money to go around. Only so much can be done to help stimulate the economy across the state and region when the government does not have enough resources at its disposal.