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Amy Dalrymple, Forum News Service, Published January 17 2012

Langseth: Not enough for flood projects in Dayton’s proposal

MOORHEAD – Gov. Mark Dayton’s $775 million bonding proposal announced Tuesday falls “way, way short” on flood mitigation, said a local official and longtime bonding expert.

State Sen. Keith Langseth, DFL-Glyndon, said Dayton’s proposal of $20 million for flood hazard mitigation doesn’t come close to meeting the state’s needs.

“We’re not going to be able to do much with that,” said Langseth, who remained in the Senate this term to make sure flood needs were met. “I’d like to have quite a bit more than that.”

Moorhead Mayor Mark Voxland said the flood mitigation needs in his city alone would cost $20 million. Voxland’s goal is to have Moorhead protected to 42.5 feet by the end of 2013.

“We could take the whole thing, but the reality is there are other projects in the state also,” Voxland said.

Langseth said he is sponsoring a bill that would provide $55 million for statewide flood protection projects.

While commending the overall $775 million amount of Dayton’s bonding bill, Langseth said the proposal also falls short on higher education, sewer systems and bridges.

Dayton recommends $20 million for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system for construction projects such as roof replacements and other improvements to existing buildings.

The system’s request was $110 million. In 2010, the system received $52 million for those projects, said Jan Mahoney, vice president for finance and administration at Minnesota State University Moorhead.

“Twenty is very disappointing,” Mahoney said.

Among the projects MSUM has requested is a $2.2 million boiler project that would save the university energy costs.

Langseth said he’d like to put another $60 million into higher education.

Dayton’s proposal does have some good news for MSUM and Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Moorhead.

Dayton recommends about $5.2 million in renovations for science, technology, engineering and math programs at nine campuses.

For MSUM, that would mean about $547,000 to renovate the 40-year-old planetarium in Bridges Hall and replace obsolete equipment.

MSCTC would receive about $550,000 to renovate classroom space into a science lab to accommodate the growth in science courses, said Provost Jerry Migler.

MSCTC also had requested $5.2 million for a transportation center addition and renovation for the growing diesel technology and automotive programs.

That was low on MnSCU’s priority list and not included in Dayton’s proposal.

“We’ll have to keep that on the back-burner,” Migler said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590