Nonprofit, independent journalism. Supported by readers.


Metro sales tax pushed as way to address impasse over transit funding

Plus: bonding bill fails; Al Franken wins on Jeopardy!; former NBA star trolls Minnesota; and more. 

MinnPost photo by Briana Bierschbach

And ‘last-ditch’ might be putting it optimistically. The Star Tribune’s J. Patrick Coolican writes about a ‘last-ditch plan’ to raise a half-cent sales tax to help pay for transit projects, including Southwest LRT: “Legislators and regional transportation officials are increasingly eyeing a new metro area sales tax as a way to break up a bitter political deadlock over transit funding at the State Capitol. The Metropolitan Council is rapidly running out of options to come up with $135 million needed to lock in critical federal funding for Southwest light-rail transit.”

Speaking of things not getting doneMPR’s Tim Pugmire writes about the failure of this year’s package of construction projects — known as the bonding bill — in the Minnesota House:  “The vote of 69-64 fell well short of the 81-vote super majority required for passage. Nearly all DFL lawmakers and a few Republicans voted against the bill. House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, said Republicans never asked Democrats for input. Thissen said the result was a bad bill.” 

Body identifiedFrom the AP:  “The Hennepin County medical examiner confirms a body recovered from the Mississippi River is that of a missing University of Minnesota student. Authorities pulled the body of 20-year-old David Michael Miller, of St. Peter, from the river near the Ford Parkway Bridge in St. Paul just before 6:30 a.m. Wednesday. The third-year bioscience major was last seen leaving a dormitory the night of May 10.”

Good thing everything else about air travel is so pleasant. The Star Tribune’s Janet More has the latest on the wait times at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport: “Given the expected influx of passengers, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at MSP has promised to pay more overtime for employees, add more bomb-sniffing dogs and rely on help from the airport and the airlines to herd the roller-bag masses. … The MAC is adding more employees this summer to direct travelers to ticketing kiosks and security lines in Terminal 1 (Lindbergh).”

Article continues after advertisement

Franken wins. Also in the Strib, Neal Justin recounts Al Franken’s triumph on Jeopardy!: “It was no contest. From nearly the get-go, Franken had the edge over his competitors, political strategist Ana Navarro and ABC’s Sunny Hostin, thanks to his knowledge on everything from which states have legalized marijuana to the theme song from ‘The Flintstones.’ In the end, Franken racked up more than $20,000, nearly double the amount earned by runner-up Navarro. Producers bolstered his total by pledging $50,000 to the charity of his choice, the USO.” 

Unity-watch. As Minnesota Republicans gather in Duluth, the PiPress’ David Montgomery offers this preview: “Their state convention may not be the battle royale it was shaping up to be before Trump clinched the party’s nomination. But anti-Trump dissidents will carry their message loudly into the weekend, even as party leaders and Trump supporters push Republican unity. ‘The party is coming together almost two months earlier than anyone ever anticipated,’ said Brian LeClair, a local Trump campaign co-chair. ‘That’s a great gift for the Trump campaign and for the party, and we’re just delighted.’”

That was fast. The first big investigation by the MPR-affiliated APMreports — about problems at Mesabi Academy, a juvenile treatment facility in northern Minnesota — got some results. The company that owns the place has decided to shut it down: “The action comes in the wake of decisions by Hennepin and Ramsey counties to remove boys it placed there and by the state Department of Corrections to freeze admissions. Those moves came after APM Reports published two stories May 2 and May 6 chronicling maltreatment allegations and the way Mesabi Academy responded to them.”

You had me at ‘beating Michigan.’ WCCO’s David McCoy writes about the University of Minnesota women’s softball team, which is about to play in the NCAA tournament: Minnesota opens up the NCAA Tournament on Friday in Seattle, with a game against North Dakota State. After beating No. 2 Michigan in 10 innings on Saturday to win the Big Ten Tournament in dramatic fashion, the Gophers are riding a wave of momentum.”

Trolling Minnesota. Also in sports, the Strib’s Michael Rand summarizes the latest outrage perpetrated against this fine state: “Former NBA player John Salley, filling in for Mike Golic on ESPN’s ‘Mike and Mike’ program … raised some eyebrows and ruffled some local feathers with comments about the last two No. 1 overall picks and back-to-back NBA Rookies of the Year — Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns of the Timberwolves. … Said Salley: ‘I think he needs to get out of Minnesota. He and Wiggins need to get out of Minnesota.’ Greenberg stopped him at that point with the bizarre question — phrased perhaps half-jokingly — of why the NBA even has a team in Minnesota.”