ST. PAUL - Several St. Cloud area projects have been included in the State House's $850 million bonding bill.

Local leaders are hoping this is the year the State Legislature will grant them money to finish the renovation of the River's Edge Convention Center.  The House bill includes nearly $11.6 million to build a parking ramp, a pedestrian skyway connection, and other upgrades.

The bill also includes $18 million for upgrades at the St. Cloud prison.  The Oliver H. Kelley Historic Farm site in Elk River would get over $10.5 million.  St. Cloud Metro Transit would receive $1.1 million for phase 1 of the metro bus operations center improvements. $865,000 has been designated for St. Cloud State University, with most of that money going to renovations of Eastman Hall.  And, there's $500,000 for the city of Sartell to acquire up to 68 acres of land along the Sauk River.

The proposal released Tuesday comes in two parts. One authorizes $850 million in state-backed borrowing and the other draws $125 million from a budget surplus.

The two-part strategy is unique and reflects political dynamics around so-called bonding bills.

Bills authorizing debt require Republican votes to meet the three-fifths vote requirement. The cash bill only needs a simple majority.

That's why several theater projects are in the second bill.

Once the House passes its proposals, they must be matched up with a competing Senate version.

The State Senate has not revealed their bonding bill yet.