Monday, April 07, 2008

Governor Nixes Central Corridor Light Rail Money

Like our President, Minnesota's governor has largely become irrelevant to the function of government except for the damage he can do as his term winds down. The Governor's short-sighted no-new taxes policies were soundly rejected during the last election when Democrats were swept into office to do something about our crumbling infrastructure, underfunded schools, and an economy that is declining more rapidly here than in the rest of the country. Republicans and Democrats overrode the Governor's recent veto of a transportation funding bill that even the Chamber of Commerce said we needed.

So it was payback time. The legislature passed a bonding bill that exceeded the governor's "threshold" of what was fiscally acceptable. What that means that there were too many projects in Democrat districts and not enough in Republican districts. (Up to this point the Governor has had no problem with funding everything through bonding in order to avoid raising state taxes.) The Governor could have vetoed the whole bill and forced legislators back to the table but there was no way he was going to get more of what he wanted. So he used his line item veto to ax spending projects. Most notable was his veto of money for the central corridor light rail line that he supposedly supports. Here is Minnesota2020's take:
By slashing $70 million, the Governor has wrecked nearly half a billion dollars in federal funding. Without the federal money light rail will not happen.
This is the kind of project that is both environmentally responsible and crucial to the competitive fortunes of the twin cities. So naturally the Governor kills it.

No comments: