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Minnesota House passes $7 billion transportation budget bill

June 23, 2021 GMT
The first time masks were not required on the House Floor, Monday, June 14, 2021, in St. Paul, Minn. The Minnesota Legislature convenes for the first day of what's expected to be a prolonged special session to pass a two-year, $52 billion state budget. Leaders met all weekend in the lead up to special session Monday to try and finalize deals on a number of issues, including police reform and education funding. (Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune via AP)
The first time masks were not required on the House Floor, Monday, June 14, 2021, in St. Paul, Minn. The Minnesota Legislature convenes for the first day of what's expected to be a prolonged special session to pass a two-year, $52 billion state budget. Leaders met all weekend in the lead up to special session Monday to try and finalize deals on a number of issues, including police reform and education funding. (Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune via AP)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Another piece of Minnesota’s budget picture fell into place Wednesday when the House passed a $7.3 billion transportation funding bill.

The bill funds roads, bridges and public transit. It includes money for two new bus rapid transit lines for the Twin Cities area. It preserves the Northstar commuter rail line. It includes $10 million to leverage federal matching funds for a second daily Amtrak train between St. Paul and Chicago. There’s also money to outfit State Patrol troopers with body cameras. And it will reopen driver’s exam locations closed due to COVID-19.

The House approved the bill 112-21 and sent it to the Senate, which could give the package final approval as soon as Thursday and send it to Gov. Tim Walz.

Four other budget bills that passed both chambers this week are awaiting the governor’s signature. They include agriculture, commerce and energy, higher education, and projects financed through the state’s Legacy Amendment.

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House and Senate negotiators have agreed on most of the other budget bills that must pass by July 1 to avert a partial government shutdown. The thorniest remaining disputes are over the public safety budget, and whether to include new police accountability measures on top of those passed last summer following the death of George Floyd.