Light Rail Hopes Tied up in Special Session

The following article by Dylan Thomas, dated June 1, 2016, was published in the Southwest Journal.

Light Rail Hopes Tied up in Special Session

The future of Southwest Light Rail Transit may hinge on a special legislative session.

The Legislature adjourned in May without committing the $135 million remaining in its 10-percent share of the $1.79-billion transit project. If the state doesn’t close the gap soon, $895 million in federal matching funds may be at risk.

The power to call a special session rests with Gov. Mark Dayton, who hasn’t announced his decision yet. Local leaders who serve on the project’s Corridor Management Committee were also scheduled to meet just before this issue went to press.

Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin said May 31 “there isn’t a definitive Plan B” if the state doesn’t come through, although discussions among local funders were underway. Still, McLaughlin expressed optimism about the prospects for a special session, noting both DFLers and Republicans have incentive to come up with a plan to fund not just transit needs, but also road and bridge repairs statewide.

The Legislature failed to pass either a transportation or a bonding bill before the end of the session.

To continue reading, click on the link to the Southwest Journal.
Light rail hopes tied up in special session | Southwest Journal