The following Commentary by Bob “Again” Carney Jr. was published in the May 26, 2016 edition of the Star Tribune.
2016: Legislature: Here’s the Win-Win Solution to Southwest Light Rail
In order to get the state bonding bill back on track this year, start by scrapping the route’s embattled Kenilworth corridor and tunnel.
Star Tribune file photo
A rendering shows a Metro Transit light-rail train passing through the Kenilworth lagoon in Minneapolis.
The 2016 legislative session almost made it. Tax and supplemental spending bills (with the exception of a mysterious tobacco tax cut) are widely acceptable to both parties and to Gov. Mark Dayton.
However, the problem-plagued Southwest light-rail project remained unfunded. With a midnight deadline minutes away, a powerful, panicking herd of developers — downtown business interests, construction companies and unions — pushed a funding amendment through the Senate. Too late. Amid confusion, the billion-dollar bonding deal fell apart.
Without a reasonable transit compromise, our opportunity to have a 2016 bonding bill will be lost. This would be a major injury to the entire state. It’s no surprise that a special session is now widely seen as a needed remedy. But to reach a compromise, we need to fix a fatal design flaw with the light-rail route.
To continue reading, click on the link to the Star Tribune Here’s the win-win solution to Southwest light rail