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Potential loggerheads between ND House, Senate over bonding

The Senate version of the bonding bill is now over $1 billion.

The House sent a $680 million bill to the Senate earlier.

Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson) said the biggest new item is $250 million revolving loan fund for carbon capture and sequestration for the coal industry.

"We feel that, for the future of our state, and making sure the economy has the energy that it needs, we need to maintain and preserve coal fired electrical baseload," Wardner said.

But Wardner sayid that’s just a “placeholder” – because there may be other ways to make sure it’s funded. He said another proposal in the Senate version --- money for Career and Technical Education Centers – could be funded through other means, including money from the new American Recovery Act.

"We're hoping we can find other revenue to take care of them," Wardner said. "But they've got to be on the table.  We cannot forget about them."

Wardner described the bonding bill as a “work in progress.”

But House Majority Leader Chet Pollert (R-Carrington) said he won’t support a bonding bill at a higher level than the $680 million the House has already passed.

The House version focuses on money for water projects, as well as other infrastructure.

"It gets to a point of how much will the House accept?" Pollert said. "The House is a lot more leery of bonding than what the Senate is."

Pollert said there were solid votes for $680 million.

"I would say I would lose votes at anything above $680 million," Pollert said. "Maybe I'm wrong, but that's what I think."

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