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GOP reworks bonding bill; now $800 million

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A bonding bill introduced by Republican legislators has been retooled – and reduced.

The original plan was a $1.1 billion package. But after some House Republicans balked at the price tag, it has now been reduced to $800 million.

"I think the House thought it was too much money, especially for roads," said Sen. Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson).

Wardner said the new bill does have some money for bridges.

Also taken out: Money for the new State Hospital.

"That was $140 million," Wardner said.

Now, Wardner said the main focus is water projects.

"The FM Diversion has been taken care of," Wardner said. "Minot flood control is done. And there's help for western area water systems."

Wardner said the new bill has more money for water projects than what he had originally proposed.  And he said he’s glad this was settled early in the session.

"It can move quicker," Wardner said. "We can now see the things that are necessary that are not included anymore, and we can find other places to include them."

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