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New federal ranking of Gold Line bus rapid transit puts funding in jeopardy

Plus: what you need to know about Trump’s Lao and Hmong deportation plan; Peterson criticizes ag cuts in Trump budget proposal; Minnesotan reports from coronavirus quarantine; and more.

A proposed Gateway Gold Line station at 3M's Maplewood HQ
A proposed Gateway Gold Line station at 3M's Maplewood HQ.
Gateway Corridor

All that glitters is not gold. The Star Tribune’s Janet Moore reports: “Federal funders of the Gold Line dropped the rating of Minnesota’s first bus-rapid transit project, a move that could imperil critical funding needed to build the $461 million line. … The 10-mile Gold Line is slated to link downtown St. Paul to Woodbury, mostly along exclusive bus-only lanes hugging Interstate 94. Passenger service is expected to begin in 2024. … In the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) annual report issued late Monday on funding recommendations for public transit projects, the Gold Line was given a ‘medium low’ ranking.

Latest on Trump administration immigration policy. For Sahan Journal, Riham Feshir reports:The Trump administration is in talks with the government of Laos to allow for the deportation of Lao and Hmong immigrants from the United States, federal State Department officials confirmed Monday. … The proposal would apply to people who are not U.S. citizens and have standing orders of deportation issued against them. … The news surfaced last week after U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, DFL-St. Paul, wrote a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo voicing her opposition to the plan, which could result in thousands of longtime residents being sent back to the country of their birth.”

Less support for farmers. The Bemidji Pioneer reports: “House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., on Tuesday, Feb. 11, sharply criticized the White House’s proposed budget request for fiscal year 2021. … The budget includes a call for an 8.2% reduction in discretionary spending at the U.S. Department of Agriculture when the department’s field operations are significantly understaffed, as well as proposing billions in mandatory cuts to crop insurance, conservation spending, disaster assistance, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and other programs, he said in a news release.”

Reporting directly from quarantine. The Star Tribune’s Jeremy Olson writes: “Yulin Yin was just starting to relax and fall into routine on day six of his 14-day quarantine in San Diego — with the anxiety and jet lag from an evacuation flight out of Wuhan, China, behind him — when the Minneapolis man got the news that everyone on his flight feared. … One of the 167 evacuees on that flight ended up sick due to an infection of novel coronavirus. … ‘Now I just want to make sure I am healthy so I don’t bring the virus to Minnesota,’ said Yin, an IT professional. Yin, 48, was on one of five special flights that carried hundreds of U.S. citizens and immediate relatives out of Wuhan — the epicenter of the global coronavirus outbreak.”

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In other news…

So where does the money go?Minnesota hospitals see margins slip below 2% mark” [Star Tribune]

Vote scheduled for next week:St. Paul teachers will vote on strike authority” [Star Tribune]

Scary:Employee taken to hospital after head gets stuck in mixer at Minneapolis bakery” [KSTP]

Losing their mojo?Mojo Monkey Donuts to cut hours to weekends only” [Pioneer Press]

Foul ball:Softball hits sprinkler, causes flooding at University of St. Thomas athletic complex” [KMSP]

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