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Bonding bill passes at $680 million

The bonding bill is done.

It’s $680 million. And its big projects are the F-M Diversion, the Mouse River Flood Control Project, and a new agriculture building at NDSU.

The $680 million was earlier passed by the House. The Senate initially raised it to $1.1 billion. But because of new federal COVID relief money, and better than expected earnings from the state’s Legacy Fund, the Senate reduced it to the House level, thereby avoiding a conference committee, and sending it to Governor Burgum.

It passed the Senate unanimously.

"Part of it is the federal dollars that will be coming in, and recognizing that, at times, they're able to replace dollars that we were planning on," said Sen. Ron Sorvaag (R-Fargo). "A lot of the items that were added on are still part of the discussions in other areas and budgets, and the movement of federal funds."

North Dakota is scheduled to receive $1.3 billion from the American Recovery Act.

"Wherever we can replace general fund dollars with the federal dollars, we're doing that," said Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson). "As a result it frees up those dollars."

Sen. Tim Mathern (D-Fargo) called it the “beginning of the end” of the 2021 regular Legislative session.

"We have come together in a major public policy agreement," Mathern said.

The measure -- HB 1431 -- now awaits Gov. Doug Burgum's signature.

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