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Much Ado About Something at the Met Council

A series of curious events over the last six weeks related to the Southwest Light Rail project and key personnel at the Met Council suggest disarray at the Twin Cities’ unelected “regional authority”. First, with respect to the Southwest Light Rail (SWLRT) project, the Met Council has been battling lawsuits, its own misleading practices, and various self-inflicted delays in an effort to secure nearly a billion dollars in matching federal funding. One final battle appeared to be a lawsuit filed by the Twin Cities & Western railroad (TC&W) in opposition to the Council’s somewhat convoluted plan to buy and manage a critical...

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Met Council has a new director of equal opportunity but not enough bus drivers. Some Routes Suspended.

One of the Met Council’s core functions is transit. I could not help wondering if the Council focused more on delivering good transit, rather than trying to re-arrange the metro area according to its own “progressive” political and social agenda maybe it would not find itself without enough drivers. ...

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Southwest LRT Summer Newsletter: spending, delays continue while total costs rise

For your summer reading: The Met Council's pet project SWLRT, now largely shifted onto the back of Hennepin County taxpayers, has been delayed again. And yet the Council is spending tax dollars anyway even though it has not received a federal grant. This is "good" news, as good as it gets short of a full denial by the FTA. My prediction is SWRLT will not be funded in 2018. ...

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Met Council Policies Threaten Dream of Home Ownership

The Twin Cities face a chronic shortage of affordable housing. But not the kind activists like to talk up. There's nowhere near enough affordable new starter homes for middle class buyers on the market, according to an MPR report. Real estate developer Paul Heuer wants to build houses that regular people can afford. But he says increases in land, labor and lumber costs — in addition to regulatory costs — have made building a new starter home virtually impossible. "Definitely on the first-time home buyer, there's a substantial market that's not being met," Heuer said. "In the mid- to upper ranges, we're doing alright....

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Radio Traffic Reporter Agrees: We Need More Lanes

While driving back to the Golden Valley area from my parents’ house in Wisconsin, I caught the tail end of a Twin Cities traffic update. The report was as expected: car fire here, accident there, traffic congestion from construction everywhere. But what caught my attention was the announcer’s final comment on all the road construction projects currently underway....

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Bonding Bill Fine Print Undercuts Met Council Powers

Conservatives often complain about surprises uncovered in the fine print of legislation that gets slipped into bills late in the process. "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what's in it," former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi infamously blurted about Obamacare. Now the shoe's on the other foot with the 2018 bonding bill recently passed by the Minnesota Legislature and currently awaiting Gov. Mark Dayton's signature--or not. It doesn't involve anything as breath-taking as commandeering one-sixth of the nation's economy through health care, but rather clamping down on big government in the form of the Met Council. The...

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Change of Guard? Peter McLaughlin does not get endorsed for Hennepin County

The article, written with no sense of apology for its blunt focus on race, age and sexual preference, with little reference to policy positions, went on the describe other changes or potential changes in the guard in Minneapolis city and county positions. Nothing on addressing street crime, congestion or fixing pot holes, for example. Let’s just say it helps to get elected in Minneapolis if you are not an old, white, straight male. Sorry, Peter. ...

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Dayton Likely to Quash Met Council Reforms Again

Most of the focus on potential gubernatorial vetoes concerns the tax and spending bills just sent to Gov. Mark Dayton's desk. Yet another measure before the governor also faces a likely veto for the second year in a row. A bill to shake up the Metropolitan Council passed with bipartisan support. But the Star Tribune reports Dayton will probably continue to shield the most powerful unelected regional government in the country from becoming more transparent and responsive to taxpayers. “It goes to the point of representation and accountability,” said Rep. Tony Albright, R-Prior Lake, the House author. “Right now the Met Council...

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Center’s New Traffic Congestion Campaign Revs Up Media Interest

American Experiment's new campaign to rev up awareness of the policies and politics behind the Twin Cities' traffic congestion has caught the attention of Fox 9 News reporter Christina Palladino. Getting stuck in traffic is now a daily ritual for many Minnesotans in the Twin Cities metro area, but one group is offering a solution to break up the congestion. Some Minnesota freeways rank in the top 50 rankings for bottleneck congestion. While most drivers just deal with it, others are pushing to change the flow of traffic. “The solution to congestion is more lanes,” said John Hinderaker, the president of a Twin Cities think tank called The Center...

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