Thursday, at a suddenly announced, three hour long public meeting, Governor Dayton pursued the nuclear option and dropped his "Adam Bomb" onto the negotiation around Southwest Light Rail. Specifically, Dayton plans to have his unelected board of minions, the Met Council, obligate tax payers to nearly $100M in debt through what is known as "certificates of participation". This would be in lieu of the state contributing $135M, as the project requires, and as the legislature has rejected. My previous posts laying out some of the details on this are here and here.
Of course, this flies directly in the face of a statement from Met Council Chair Adam Duininck that the council would not try this scheme.
According to this article from MPR News, fellow participants in the scheme, the Counties Transportation Improvement Board (CTIB) and Hennepin County Regional Rail Authority, need to hold public hearings and vote on tossing in $20.5M each before the end of the month.
Nothing says democracy like an unelected board throwing together a last minute scheme with "hearings" to rubber stamp decisions they couldn't pass through the duly elected legislature, all while obligating taxpayers to nearly $100M in debt.
These actions further poison the well in terms of transportation policy in the Twin Cities and the state, and again demonstrate the absurd outlier nature of the unelected, unaccountable and sprawling Met Council. We need wholesale reform of the Council, and of the governance structure for transportation policy. Only then will we be able to move forward as a region.
At the end of the day, it's hard to characterize Duininck's previous comments on this matter as anything but an outright lie:
Sure, e-books have a place in the world. I just prefer real ones, in order to make the job a bit harder for any real life Winston Smith who might be out there.