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Funding for Southwest LRT killed the special session; expect to hear a lot about Southwest LRT this fall

Metropolitan Council
Speaker Kurt Daudt: “It’s really unfortunate that all of the good things that we’ve been working and all of the agreement and compromise that was made is being cast aside because metro area Democrats aren’t getting Southwest Light Rail.”

The uncertainty could have gone on indefinitely, but Mark Dayton didn’t see the point.

On Thursday, after three months of sporadic meetings and dueling press conferences with legislative leaders, the DFL governor put an end to the possibility that he’ll call legislators back for a one-day special session to resolve outstanding issues of the 2016 session. 

“I’ve concluded that after almost three months of futile efforts to reach an agreement to bring the Legislature back … I’m not going to call a special session,” Dayton told reporters, after a meeting with legislators that lasted less than 30 minutes. 

It’s a dramatic turn from earlier this summer, when Dayton and Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt shared BLT sandwiches in a private meeting at the governor’s house and said they had put aside their differences. In doing so, they made way for a compromise on several issues, including a nearly $1 billion bonding bill that failed to pass in the final minutes of session, as well as a $260 million package of tax cuts that Dayton vetoed after session because it included a $100 million drafting error. Dayton and leaders even set a tentative timeframe for the special session, which they predicted would come together as quickly as the third week of August.

Instead, the special session died in the third week of August.

Whodunnit?

There seems to be no disagreement about what killed the session: funding for the controversial Southwest light rail transit line. 

In the end, despite other negotiating breakthroughs, Democrats could not convince Republicans to budge and allow five metro-area counties to raise the $135 million needed to pay the state’s share of the light rail line, which is needed to leverage about $900 million in federal funding.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk said he provided four different options to Republicans to come up with local funding to pay for the light rail project. They included allowing Hennepin County to kick in more money than it can now, as well as dissolving a regional transit board to allow five metro counties to levy and spend money for transit uses individually. In the end, Republicans didn’t agree to those options and offered “no alternative,” Bakk said.

“I think down the road, what are these metro highways going to look like 20 years from now, unless we find some alternatives to get people off of the highways?” Bakk said. “I think [Republicans are] lacking vision.”

Speaker Kurt Daudt
MinnPost photo by Briana Bierschbach
Speaker Kurt Daudt

Daudt said he tried to negotiate a special session for the outstanding bonding bill and tax bill, but Democrats said they wouldn’t make a deal without some resolution on light rail funding. Daudt said they couldn’t agree to anything to support the project given its unpopularity around the state and several outstanding lawsuits over its proposed route.

“It’s really unfortunate that all of the good things that we’ve been working and all of the agreement and compromise that was made is being cast aside because metro area Democrats aren’t getting Southwest Light Rail,” Daudt said.

When it comes to the future of the SWLRT, Dayton said he’s going “back to the drawing board.” He’s meeting with Met Council Chairman Adam Duininck on Friday to look at their options. 

Daudt also used the phrase “back to the drawing board” with SWLRT, but he thinks the project, as it stands now, is “dead.”

“This is probably the end of Southwest light rail,” Daudt said. “It doesn’t mean it has to be the end forever, but it means that we should actually go back to the drawing board, start over, go through a new route analysis.”

The election and beyond

The end of special session talks means legislators can now pivot full-time to this fall’s election, when all 201 state House and Senate seats are on the ballot. Daudt said the failed special session will fall squarely on legislative Democrats. “I’m not the one walking away from the table right now,” Daudt said. “Democrats are walking away from the table today.”

Gov. Mark Dayton
Office of the Governor
Gov. Mark Dayton

DFL House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, who is hoping to reclaim the speakership this fall, said it was “a disappointing day for Minnesota.”

“We leave 2016 with no bonding bill, no tax bill and above all no comprehensive transportation solution,” he said in a statement. “A House DFL Majority will bring a robust bonding bill and middle class tax relief to the House floor for a vote in the first 30 days of the next legislative session.”

Dayton, who is not on the ballot this fall, didn’t want to make predictions about the election, but he was sure the election had something to do with the death of special session. “We are not asking for one state dollar going into the Southwest light rail project, it’s just all about the politics, about putting something on someone’s re-election campaign brochure saying we killed Southwest Light Rail and the metropolitan boondoggle dollars,” Dayton said.

Looking even further ahead, the 2017 session is going to feel a lot like the 2016 session.

Shortly after lawmakers convene in January, Dayton said he will introduce a bonding and tax proposal similar to the ones that failed this year. And he also wants to pick up the conversation around a long-term transportation-funding plan, which dominated the last two legislative years and ultimately ended in gridlock. 

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Comments (38)

Mr Daudt gets his way

Mr Daudt was so willing to stop a public transportation line paid for the people in the communities served by the line that he derailed the tax cut package, the entire bonding bill, and any hope of the comprehensive transportation program Minnesota needs to avoid gridlock on its roads akin to the gridlock in the legislature.

Why would someone do this? Was he scared by Thomas the Tank Engine as a child? Did he not like getting the RR cards in Monopoly? Is he perhaps a car salesman?

There is truly no rational reason for one man to so disadvantage our state. Mr Daudt may be called the Speaker of the House but he truly does not speak for my house. Our best hope for progress in Minnesota is to deny Mr Daudt the majority that made him Speaker and gave him the opportunity to create statewide havoc because of his fear of choo choo trains!

Car salesman

Good guess, Beth-Ann. Car sales literally was his career before he moved into the legislature.

Used

Cars....

Used Cars

Mr. Daudt doesn't seem to have any problem with the $1.6 billion Bottineau line, which has the Good Fortune not to pass by many Republican windows. The Southwest line is a Clear and Present Danger to five Republican households in his "base," and therefore is on his "Kill List." You gotta love these Repulicans, they know their base, even if it consists of only the top 250 household incomes in the country.

Car Sales

Used cars, that is......

The GOP

Gets very vague every time you ask them why they are opposed to the light rail. Probably has a racial component in that they don't like people of color with easy access to their suburbs. Never mind that they like riding the train down from St. Cloud to the twins, they love taking the train to the Vikings stadium, the suburbs involve want the rail line And every transit line has been a strong stimulus to economic development along their route. Meanwhile we can waste money on paving roads in counties that benefit six or eight corporate farms, or provide spurs to rural businesses that use their roads two or three times a day at the most. Economic engines are built on transport, makes the most sense but the transport were the people in the businesses are. The people and the business are in the metro areaTake a look at the boondoggle of putting a light rail from their research park to downtown Rochester. That's a republican district, why are they opposed to light rail there?

"394 Express"

Friends long resident in Wayzata indicated your postulation was in play when previous rail plans were discussed with respect to 394 re-construction some years ago. I quote (without attribution, of course): "If we can get downtown that easily, 'they' can get out here just as easily." [I do not misrepresent their words here.]
I found that to be curious, given the early immigrant history of Minneapolis, Wayzata, Big Island, direct train, then streetcar service throughout most of the 1900s. Of course, Lake Minnetonka was not yet the "Hamptons" of Minneapolis.

In the case of SWLRT, however, I believe the focus was/is on commuter access. And, that's what I see as the boondoggle of this particular project: commuter transit/sports transit. Clearly, this line is not about leaving South Minneapolis to shop in Eden Prairie.

[By the way, my friends had/have nothing to do with the GOP.]

Minneapolis has dodged a bullet

It was a poorly designed line that served no one purpose well and whose costs were inflating beyond reason. The route was chosen to save money because trees are cheaper to rip up than roads, but with so many engineering challenges (including an existing train that was supposed to be relocated but someone forgot to ask the train company and guess what they didn't want to move so a tunnel would need to be built to accommodate the light rail), but maybe now we can get a route that makes sense--as in it goes through actually inhabited areas of the city.

The only sad part is that it died not because our elected officials had any sense, but because of other political gridlock.

I can literally feel the wind from this bullet as it whizzes by. Enjoy those trails and lakes people! Minneapolis gets to keep them!

Look

Look at the illustration accompanying the article. Oh the horror! A non-polluting electric rail car crossing a creek via a bridge that spans the entire width of the cars a few times an hour. Kurt Daudt and Kenwood NIMBYs deserve one another: no interest like self interest.

SWLRT

The other thing you should notice from that illustration is that nobody lives there. The density of the area through which this train runs in MPLS is very low, with a very low percentage of transit dependent riders.

This project lacked a lot of things but one stood out for me: there was no defined way to get the people who need the train (and the potential jobs in the SW metro) both to the train and to the jobs. Without funding feeder routes (and without cannibalizing the current bus system) I found it very difficult to understand how this plan was to help people in MPLS who really need transit.

Nobody lives there...

That would be news to the residents of St Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie. Let's be honest, the Blue and Green lines were more about economic development and moving folks from a loosely identified "A" to a loosely identified "B". SWLRT is the first line that really gets at moving the folks from their suburban homes to their jobs in downtown Minneapolis. There is no perfect route and time and money are a wasting.

Kurt Daudt could care less about metro transportation needs: His priorities are keeping rural legislators employed and feathering his nest so that he can, as Governor, do for Minnesota all that TPAW did: NOTHING.

Read Carefully

My complaint about the line was in regard to MPLS ("The density of the area through which this train runs in MPLS is very low, with a very low percentage of transit dependent riders."). And if this the "equity train" the Met Council argues that it represents then it has to work not only for SLP, Hopkins, MTKA, and EP but especially for MPLS. I'm not looking for a perfect route--I'm just looking for a route that actually moves transit dependent riders from MPLS to all those jobs in the SW metro. And if you think that this route isn't about development you haven't been listening to the presentations for the last nine years or you just don't believe what the Met Council has been saying.

Like I said...

The Blue and Green lines are simply not in a geographic position to have work commuting as a primary role. That is the primary role of SWLRT: lots of folks live in the suburbs and work in downtown. Sure, their are plenty of reverse commuters and economic development near station sites will occur; but, like Chicago, NY, Philadelphia, rail transit is used to solve commuting problems: get into the city in the AM and out in the PM. I hope all the Kenwood NIMBYs are pleased with their new best friend, Kurt Daudt. Sorry to say he won't be your BFF, only for now....

Silly Arguments

"Commuter Rail" is a classification best discussed by Bill Lindeke. Maybe he'll join us.

Conventionally, "commuter" rail was "heavy" rail, still is in those cities you mention. The "light" rail is just a new form of streetcar, interurban or local. This hybrid here has always been controversial regarding stops, in both number and placement.

Time to tear up those little-used bike trails and re-lay the tracks, perhaps. OK, an anachronistic jibe, to be sure. Too late for common sense regarding any of this current discussion.

(By the way, I've always thought running this one through Kenwood was abusive in several respects/disrespects.)

225 trains a day, to be

225 trains a day, to be precise.

Or

An average of 9.375 per hour to be exact.

And we know a 35 MPH train is travelling 51.33333 feet per second.

And the average car is 91 feet long.

And the average train is 4 cars or 364 feet.

A train length before it gets there + a train length in there + a train length after = 1092 feet

So: 21.272741 seconds from the time this train enters your life to the time it exits your life.

And the problem is????

The Problem Is

The problem is your math. Trains don't run for 24 hours, they run for 20. They won't be running through this corridor at 35 mph, getting in and out of the tunnel. With stops at Lake St., 21st Street, and Penn they'll maybe get to 20 mph. That means they're traveling at 29.3333 feet per second. Using your 1092 feet when the train will be audible (which is probably too short--you'll hear the train more than one train before and after it arrives) that translates to 37.227 seconds hearing the train. Now hearing one train (with all the bells, and various amplifications as the train enters and exits the tunnel) would be bad. 225 times a day, with trains coming much more often at the two rush hours, and it become more significant. And set a time for 37 seconds and see how long that really is. If we told people hearing jets overhead that it only lasts for 37 seconds I think we would have heard an earful from them.

Route through Kenilworth Corridor is Questionable

I'm not sure why a route going down Hennepin Ave through Uptown is being pushed more? It was "projected" to be less expensive and there would be much more riders due to the low car ownership among the renters through this route. The Kenwood/Cedar Lake neighborhoods have low population densities comparatively.

http://www.bobagain.com/Southwest%20Plan%20B%20--%20Uptown%20Route%20--%...

I don't live in either areas but it appears to make more sense from a rider share perspective.

Uptown

I would think a street car rather than LRT would make more sense for the Uptown and Hennepin areas. LRT is designed to stop every few miles, whereas Uptown needs a system that will stop every few blocks. Having the train stop that often would greatly increase the transit time, which makes it less of a desirable option for anyone who's not doing a short hop.

So Daudt doesn't want to

So Daudt doesn't want to allow local governments, elected by local taxpayers, to use local tax receipts to pay for local infrastructure priorities.

But I thought "local control" was a value for the GOP.

Nope, big government Daudt had to prevent allowing Hennepin County to pay for a Hennepin County project with Hennepin County-levied tax dollars.

Poor Planning and Poor Politics

The Met Council handled this project badly, and I believe an elected, much more transparent and accountable Met Council might have done a much better job.

Yea, verily

This is the route plan to dissect, as it has been by many opponents as well as proponents. A special session was never the proper forum for legislative resolution, just a deferral option with many peripheral issues added by Gov. Dayton. Of course it never happened.

New voices will be in House and Senate chambers after November elections. Voters will determine the priority of this LRT plan, in part, by their decisions. SW LRT resolution belongs in full session including new winners, not old losers.

Elect 'Em!

An elected Met Council would be an unmitigated disaster. All it would do is take the partisan politics you see at both our state and national levels and introduce them to the Met Council. Some people would laud the ensuing gridlock, but don't count me as one of them. The reason the Met works so well is precisely because it's insulated from the very political bickering you want to introduce.

SWLRT

If only the proposed SWLRT had been a good proposal -- then it wouldn't have had so much opposition.

BUT the currently planned route would:
- Destroy 44 acres of urban forest In the Mpls Chain of Lakes area — and run not just "a few" trains, but 225 per day across the Kenilworth channel, one of the loveliest places in the City;
- Create a terrifying safety hazard with its electric-sparking trains only 10 feet from explosive ethanol freight trains (worrying Mpls Fire Chief Freutel);
- Avoid serving the communities of color, the poor and transit-dependent. (The Met Council claims otherwise; just look at a map and judge for yourself.)
- Actually ADD some 200 metric tons per year of greenhouse gasses to the environment;
- Add only 6,500 new-to-transit riders -- and that only by the year 2040! That is at an up-front cost of nearly $300,000 per new rider. Meanwhile, costs continue to climb.

Finally, as everyone knows, the Met Council is being sued over the project, charged with violating the National Environmental Protection Act. The judge has already said they are "dangerously close" to violating the law. There is another lawsuit already filed by a suburban group, and the Calhoun Isles Condo Assn (which includes the high-rise that used to be the grain elevators) may sue as well. Their issue is that the tunnel for those 225 trains would be built less than two feet from their building; the Met Council in its FEIS ridiculously claims that does not put their building at serious risk. And if the tunnel can't be built, 50+ townhouses would be condemned.

Meanwhile, the Met Council has kept it under wraps that the FTA is withholding final funding until the suit is settled. But that won't be until after 9/17/17, when the case goes to court. Adam Duininck acknowledged this in an email he wrote Gov. Dayton last December; the document has only come to light as a result of litigants and the Star Tribune examining the records that the Met Council tried to hide from the public.

BTW, It isn't that there aren't alternatives to the proposed route, as the governor claims. Among them are BRT, a route through booming Uptown (businesses there want it), or through the booming West End in SLP, and more. But, exactly as as the lawsuit charges, the Met Council has not given these options serious consideration, even though they would solve most or all of the problems above.

It really is too bad that the whole state has to suffer from the mismanagement, wretched planning, and arrogant operation of the Met Council.

Value for the Money?

As a resident of Minneapolis and Hennepin County and a supporter of well-planned rapid transit, I just am not convinced that this project will bring the results promised. The line does not extend to neighborhoods that are in dire need of some sort of transit system. I don't think it will help people without cars get to where the jobs are. It seems this is more of a system that provides easy transit for suburbanites to get to and from their work that is located in downtown Minneapolis.

In addition, the City of Minneapolis and Hennepin County already have tax, upon tax, upon tax for residents. This increases the burden. Every project from the Minneapolis Convention Center, to Target Center, to the new football stadium, to roads, bridges, streets, and parks always result tax increases. With little benefit to economically deprived areas of the metro. I do not trust the Met Council to do what's right for us in the neighborhoods of Minneapolis. For both political parties, its time to prioritize and make choices. We cannot have it all.

Correct Outcome for Incorrect Reason

Better public transportation is crucial for the Twin Cities. In my view, upgrading existing high-volume bus routes to provide superior service is the logical step. Whether this means aBRT style service (such as the recently opened "A" line), streetcar, light rail, or an entirely grade separated route depends on the context of each individual line, with current ridership numbers and potential ridership increases dominating the decision-making process. Incremental and targeted investment serves the ultimate goal: maximizing ridership.

Unfortunately, the SWLRT does none of these things. Unlike the Hiawatha and Central corridors, SWLRT is a commuter-oriented line with stations serving low-density, auto-dominated landscapes. In all likelihood, it is neither feasible nor desirable to develop the the walk-sheds surrounding the SWLRT station areas into urban oases in an otherwise hostile sprawl-scape. The park-and-ride facilities envisioned for them will reach capacity on opening day, with no room left to grow or adapt to an alternative development pattern. In addition, and with the possible exception of the West Lake station, all of the urban stations in Minneapolis are also poorly situated far away from nodes of activity.

It may seem foolhardy to let $1.86 billion dollars in transit investment slip away. But it is the very mechanism by which that number seems plausible - the massive carrot of federal funds - that has distorted the SWLRT planning process beyond common sense. Avoiding Uptown due to the expense of tunneling while simultaneously tunneling under technically challenging parkland is the distortion most clearly understood by everyone who has followed this discussion. To which I would also add the construction of gigantic bridges out in suburbia to reach station areas that are unreachable without a car. The "first mile, last mile" dilemma in Eden Prairie and Minnetonka is unsolvable. The argument that MN is "losing" $900 million in "free" money for transit is utterly specious: MN would be spending $900 million of its own money on a poorly designed addition to what is currently an outstanding LRT system.

The politics behind this are of course petty and small. GOP opposition seems based on notions of how cities were in the 1980s. If the Republicans could only realize how conservative many city-dwellers really are, they might stop treating them with such contempt and actually win some votes there (i.e., transit is not socialist nonsense, freeways are not free-market. People just want to get around, stop making it so difficult.). Similarly, the DFL is unaware that it has fallen into the 'sunk costs' trap, whereby a goal must be achieved at all costs merely because so much effort has already been expended attempting to achieve it.

So I'm happy that SWLRT isn't going forward. Because Eden Prairie and Minnetonka don't need high-frequency, grade separated rail transit. Uptown does. So do the 5 highest performing bus routes in the Twin Cities: the 5, the 21, the 18, the 6, and the 10 (in that order). Stop chasing the chimera of a federally funded system. It leads to bad outcomes. For $900 million, Minnesota alone could have built a line that actually makes sense.

Do nothing Daudt

Or should I say "my way, the highway Daudt."

If he is a used car salesman as one reader suggests (maybe not, but it is an amusing thought), he should understand that negotiation involves give and take. If the salesperson doesn't show courtesy and flexibility they will never get to the win-win situation that means they have a job.

Dayton asked for one thing. Light rail. He showed flexibility, being willing to let local government (Hennepin County) make the decision to handle the cost. Daudt was like a guy trying to insist that the customer who wants a convertible should be satisfied with a truck, because that is what his favorite customers are wanting.

So does Daudt work for the people of his district and for Minnesota, or is he just another party hack trying to create wedge issues to inflame voters into voting Republican? Has he really done anything since Republicans reclaim the house except politic? His stubbornness and inflexibility is the sole reason why many worthwhile projects won't get funded.

Are Republicans really that foolish that they think the metro and state can continue to grow and compete without modern urban transit systems? At some point, they might want to start living in the real world. Successful cities without adequate transit are choking in traffic and pollution. Cities that are hurting pull down the states that surround them. If you doubt that, look at Detroit.

Some people raise real concerns about routes and costs. I won't suggest that the route selection is perfect. Big projects like this have two sides - improved access but significant environmental costs. However, nothing is more expensive, noisier and more disruptive than trying to add more lanes to a highway or creating more highways in densely settled areas. Until we really change how we live, we will need to continue to move people from point A to point B safely and efficient and the addition of transit options helps meet that need.

One Thing

Are you really sure about this? "Dayton asked for one thing." It seems he asked for many things... That in part is why he vetoed the tax bill.

On the upside, now we will learn what Minnesotans really think about this in November... Do they want a government who continually strives to increase taxes, take on more debt, increase spending, start new programs, etc. Or do they want our government to prioritize more wisely, implement effectiveness improvements and make do with the HUGE amount of money we already provide them. I am excited for Nov.

Dayton's Fluff

Correct-a-mundo, John. The session was proposed for one resolution. The Gov. quickly loaded it with his baggage, pretty much making this his "special" session. Glad his bluff was called.

Don't hand someone a hammer

Don't hand someone a hammer and then get mad if they use it.

If the Legislature had done its job correctly and on time, they wouldn't find themselves in this pickle.

So...

You're longing for the days of good old do nothing TPAW? Go back to just rolling out new fees and finding obtuse budget shifts to delay today's troubles to tomorrow? Dayton has proved to be an effective Governor based on actual numerical results and should be given credit for that and should be listened to when he asks for something that he believes is important to moving our state forward. Shouldn't results matter?

Acronym city

Having lived in both metro St. Louis and metro Denver – and been a regular user of light rail in both places – I'm a fan of light rail as mass transit. My former planning commissioner self was never a fan of the route selected for the Southwest line, largely for reasons that others have already laid out in detail. Lots of people and jobs at one end, not much except large-lot suburbia at the other end, with not enough density to make such a line very plausible economically. I don't mind subsidizing light rail, but there have to be enough riders to make the subsidy palatable, and that didn't seem to be the case. NIMBY opposition to light rail's effects on property values is both self-serving and short-sighted. In areas where light rail has been built and is operating, the initial inconvenience of construction has had some negative effects in the short term, but in the long run, property values are UP, not down. That said, however, the point made by others about serving a greater number of people than the current alignment seems to do strikes me as one well-made. When Met Council goes back to the proverbial drawing board, I hope they'll pay more attention to that facet of planning.

In theory, there's much to like about Bus Rapid Transit. In practice, not so much. Either the bus is stuck in traffic along with you, or the cost of adding bus-exclusive lanes to existing roads rivals that of building light rail, and buses are less efficient people-movers. If we're REALLY serious about moving commuters in and out of downtown, we'd go ahead and build something like the North Star line to several other destinations, and destinations with… ahem… larger populations than that of Big Lake.

It does appear, however, that, should we lose the $900 million in federal funds – hardly pocket change, even for some of our wealthier citizens – the onus for that loss ought to fall squarely on the shoulders of Mr. Daudt and his GOP colleagues, who, as far as I can tell, have opposed any and every mode of mass transit in the metro area that didn't involve the automobile since I arrived 7 years ago.

You make sense...

If it requires a loss of $900 million, perhaps that is money well-lost with respect to a needed jolt of reality juice.
We'll get the money for other projects, in any case. We are a favorite funding recipient thanks to our productive DFL connections to the Washington money pot.

Perhaps other cities might use some of "our" $900 million more effectively. Hope so.

Not quite

"We are a favorite funding recipient thanks to our productive DFL connections to the Washington money pot."

Light rail aside, there's a lot of interesting data available on this topic, but when it comes to the "bottom line," DFL connections or otherwise, Minnesota only gets back 72-cents for every $1.00 we send the federal government in taxes. There are only four states that get back less than we do.

Ironically, the states that pay the least in federal taxes are the most dependent on federal "hand outs." Mississippi, for example, a solid "red state," gets back $2.02 for every $1.00 they send in.

https://visualeconomics.creditloan.com/united-states-federal-tax-dollars/

So yeah, I suppose we could just keep letting 28% of the federal dollars we contribute go to states that need them more than we do to help them make up for the low low taxes their citizens pay and help them build up their education system, their public health and safety stuff, their infrastructure and maybe help pay for repairing some of the environmental damage their "extra-deregulory" policies may have helped create, etc..

Other articles on the topic you may find interesting:

"Which States Are Givers and Which Are Takers?"
www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/05/which-states-are-givers-and...

"2016’s Most & Least Federally Dependent States"
https://wallethub.com/edu/states-most-least-dependent-on-the-federal-gov...

Take from the Rich

Bill,
Please remember that this is the way the Liberals wanted it, and they got it. Minnesota is a rich state for many reasons, therefore we pay more than we receive. Just like how wealthier people pay in much more than they receive back. Maybe we can call it Progressive taxation for States.

Now if you would like to reduce the money collected and redistributed by the Feds, I am sure most of us financial Conservatives would be happy to go along and give the power back to the states.

And I assume most Liberals would prefer that the money go to help the poor rather than building some fancy transit system for suburbanites.

Be it remembered ....

Daudt and company killed all advances in public transportation light rail or otherwise this session. No matter which light rail route you preferred to Eden Prarie neither will go forward. My preference from the beginning would have been through Uptown down the Greenway on up Nicollet. Probably would carry more passengers through there on a regular basis then bikes. I of course understand the idea of the value of bikes however our infrastructure is just not laid out like many Europen cities particularly in the Netherlands where bike commutes are very much shorter than the overland commutes bikers deal with here. And therefore more biking occurs.

Not Acceptable

What is wrong with the idea of "you work until you get it done"? Can you imagine a surgeon in the middle of a procedure deciding his work day is over and he gets to go home? Come on Minnesota lawmakers stay in your seats and work it out for us.

No, it wasn't the SWLRT

It was the republicans. Did anyone really think there was going to be a special session? Why would anyone think that? It's always been clear that the republicans didn't really want or think they needed a special session, they clearly think they can live with what they've got. Sure, they'll blame it on SWLRT , and they're irrational opposition to "choo choos" is undeniable, but it's always been clear that they were satisfied with their legislative results. The real killer here is the daft notion of "zero" net additional spending. Republicans have convinced themselves they've discovered a fiscal law of the universe (someone really should tell them that what they're really doing is magical thinking). Whatever. They'll be out in November.