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A response to Hopkins real estate developer: Southwest LRT is a sweetheart deal for developers, terrible deal for taxpayers

Hopkins real estate developer Kelly Doran wrote an enraged commentary in the Star Tribune when he heard that 84 state legislators had asked the FTA and Congress to kill Southwest LRT. Stuart Chazin from Minneapolis Lakes and Parks Alliance wrote a great response. Are taxpayers supposed to fund billions in capital costs and tens of millions a year in operating costs, then replace it all again in 25 years, for LRT that does nothing to relieve congestion because developers are relying on the project? We think not. ...

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Will Governor Dayton Veto Money for Roads?

The House and Senate have both passed transportation bills that follow the general outline recommended in the Center’s Minnesota Policy Blueprint for Transportation: road, roads, and more roads funded with existing revenue and not one dime for light rail. Why can’t the Governor sign a “roads” bill as an Easter gift, and then get on to other pressing matters, like tax relief and education? ...

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Is Southwest Light Rail Transit Line on the Ropes?

The Met Council always expected the Southwest Light Rail Transit line to be on the short list in Washington—the short list for $895 million in federal funding for construction. Instead, the controversial $1.9 billion project has suddenly popped up on a different list of transit projects that the Washington Post warns “could be out of luck under the Trump Budget.” President Trump’s budget proposal zeroes out the New Starts program that funds light rail transit projects like SWLRT. "Future investments in new transit projects would be funded by the localities that use and benefit from these localized projects," according to the...

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Congressman Jason Lewis Files Bill to Contain the Met Council

We have been telling you about a new rule the Feds promulgated the day before President Trump took office. The rule could officially expand the boundaries of the Met Council beyond the seven-county metro area for federal transportation planning (and related housing issues) only. But here is the odd thing: the Met Council is already doing transportation planning in Wright and Sherburne Counties under an agreement signed in 2014. Those counties are outside of the seven-county metro area. Congressman Jason Lewis (MN-02) is not taking any chances. He just introduced H. J. Res. 84, a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution...

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Lawmakers Aim to Make the Met Council Accountable

The Metropolitan Council still holds the title of the biggest, most powerful unelected regional government in the country bar none. But that would change under proposed legislation calling for local elected officials to replace political appointees of the governor as Met Council representatives. “This legislation brings more openness to the Metropolitan Council by aligning its membership with local elected officials, giving regular citizens more voice in the make-up of the council and the important policies it implements,” said Rep. Tony Albright (R-Prior Lake), author of HF 828. While the proposed legislative reforms were embraced by the agency’s critics as a step in...

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Obama Rule Expands Met Council Boundaries

The feds implemented a new rule in the federal register regarding metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) like the Metropolitan Council on the day before President Trump took office. The rule would officially extend the boundaries of the Met Council beyond the seven-county area for federal transportation planning (and related housing issues) only. We do not read the Federal Register just for kicks. We just got lucky. ...

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City Debates Turning Down Grant in Latest Met Council Flap [updated]

Shakopee could become the first city to reject a $32,000 Met Council planning grant this week in the latest sign of local governments’ mounting antagonism to the heavy hand of the nation’s biggest unelected regional bureaucracy over their affairs. “We are concerned about the direct connection of the Thrive 2040 Plan, Met Council’s housing policies and any housing goal plan, as it relates to the acceptance of this grant,” Mayor Bill Mars wrote in a recent email exchange with Met Council officials. Met Council staff have downplayed the rift. “I don’t think we have a ‘controversy,’ so much as a ‘clarification’ with the...

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Met Council Spins Controversial Race-Based Parks Plan

[caption id="attachment_5027" align="alignleft" width="180"] Met Council Chair Adam Duininck plans to divert tens of millions of dollars in Legacy Funds for protecting the parks' natural resources. [/caption] American Experiment has exposed the Met Council's plan to introduce onerous race-based attendance goals that critics view as de facto racial quotas at Twin Cities regional parks. But you'd never know it from the spin in the latest newsletter from the nation's biggest un-elected regional bureaucracy. In fact, the Met Council appears to be ducking any mention of the controversial plan to track the race and number of park attendees. Met Council Chairman Adam Duininck's October update carefully...

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Affordable Housing? Not For Twin Cities Families

The Metropolitan Council—the Twin Cities area’s regional government—has been telling us for years that we’ve got to change the way we live. “Thrive MSP 2040,” the council’s 30-year development plan, is intended to remake our region around transit; move us into high-density, “stack and pack” housing along fixed-rail lines; deplete road funding; and wean us out of our cars so we walk, bike or take public transit to work and leisure activities. But today’s Star Tribune provides powerful evidence that people here generally don’t want to live that way. The Met Council is pressuring the region’s municipalities to densify, but home builders...

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Met Council Wants Legacy Funds for Race-Based Park Plan

American Experiment flagged this issue a few months ago in response to news accounts about the Met Council's latest harebrained scheme of racial quotas for parks. The Metropolitan Council never saw any human behavior it didn’t want to change. It wants to change the way we get from one place to another, where we live, and where we work. It also isn’t happy with the way we use Twin Cities parks. The Star Tribune headlines: “Racially equitable use of parks is the goal, with big dollars at stake.” What, exactly, is “racially equitable use of parks”? Are members of some races barred from the...

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