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Has Southwest Light Rail Hit a Speed Bump—or The Wall?

SWLRT has hit several walls: a structural operating deficit brought on by the Council favoring LRT expansion and bike lanes over a well-run bus system, a Legislature that has refused to fund SWLRT (though it gave one-time cash to help with the deficit), and The BNSF Wall. These and problems we do not know about have prevented the Council from requesting federal funds. Good. ...

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Will Met Council’s Secretive Deal Keep SWLRT Alive?

At least Americans were told upfront that candidate Trump planned to build a wall like it or not. But Minneapolis residents have found out the hard way about the Met Council's more than mile-long, 10-foot-high and 3-foot-wide concrete wall suddenly coming down the tracks as part of the controversial Southwest Light Rail Transit project. Met Council representatives quietly negotiated and agreed to build the wall as a condition for two railroad lines to share their right-of-way with the light rail line. Local politicians told the Southwest Journal they were left out of the loop for all practical purposes in the secretive...

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Fighting for the American Dream in D.C.

DFL Governor Mark Dayton’s plan, like many “blue state” governors, uses “transit oriented development” or TOD, to pull money out of the suburbs and greater Minnesota to fund and re-enforce a city centric power model. That model shifts how and where people live, and how they get around, to change the political landscape in favor of left-wing control of local and state government. ...

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Met Council Poker Game: buying train cars and condemning land for SWLRT

“In the Council’s mind, it’s like a high-stakes poker game. The Council is betting that by spending hundreds of millions of dollars, they can pressure Congress and the FTA into approving the projects. They talk as if it is a done deal, as if big talk and spending will make it so. But the federal grant program doesn't work that way.” Anoka County Commissioner Matt Look ...

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Met Council Holds Workshop on Climate-Caused Racism

It's no stretch to say the Met Council is on a mission to make race an issue in every conceivable aspect of local and regional government under its jurisdiction. But racial disparities due to global warming? That's the focus of the latest Met Council workshop being held in Minneapolis today for metro-wide city and county government workers being trained to be on the watch for climate-related racism in their communities. They [communities of color] frequently bear a disproportionate share of the burden of environmental degradation and are more vulnerable to climate change impact. This session will strengthen your community’s ability to prepare...

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Met Council votes to increase transit fares by 25 cents. Why now?

So why did the Council step up and make a reasonable rate increase now? Answer: They are flying out to DC to lobby Congress and the FTA/DOT on a regular basis trying to secure full funding grants for LRT expansion: Southwest LRT and Bottineau. But the Met Council, and its friends on the Hennepin and Ramsey County boards (Peter McLaughlin, et. al.) have NOT secured federal funding. ...

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It’s Time To End the Twin Cities’ Congestion Crisis

"Stuck in Traffic? Blame Dayton's Met Council!" That's the message on American Experiment's six electronic billboards scattered around the Twin Cities' freeway system for another week or so. If you're a subscriber to the Center's "Thinking Minnesota" magazine in the metro area, your newest edition currently in the mail likely contains a bumper sticker bearing the same theme. Also listen up for our radio spots on popular local Twin Cities stations that use humor to remind folks that the metro region's traffic congestion crisis is no accident. You may even have seen our banner during rush hour on an overpass on I-394. It's...

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Traffic ‘Armageddon’ Ramps Up Focus on Center’s Congestion Report

Our report showing that Twin Cities traffic congestion is no accident but the result of state policy continues to drive media coverage.  Pat Kessler picked up the controversy on WCCO-TV, where I used to watch the cars backed up on 11th street from my desk in the newsroom. Critics of all the congestion around the Twin Cities say it is not just the multiple road construction projects. Tens of thousands of drivers sitting in traffic are seeing billboards which read, “Stuck in Traffic? Blame Dayton’s Met Council.” The colorful signs are hard to miss, and they are the work of a conservative Minnesota...

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Met Council Chair Abruptly Quits Amid Light Rail Standoff

The chairman of the controversial Metropolitan Council plans to step down at the end of July. Adam Duininck's surprise announcement comes as the nation's largest unelected regional government agency faces unprecedented turbulence across the board on light rail transit, mounting traffic congestion, unpopular housing policies, racial equity mandates and controls on suburban growth. News coverage emphasized the intensifying resistance to the Met Council's structure and authority that characterized Duininck's two and a half year tenure at the top. The Met Council has been under attack in recent months from Republicans who criticized it for having too much authority and too little accountability....

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