A Senate bonding bill whose details were released Wednesday morning does not include $25 million that Gov. Mark Dayton recommended for Southwest Light Rail Transit—leaving the project out of both that bill and the House version that representatives OK’d last week.
The money was to be part of a $125 million total state contribution project. Federal money and county funds that are required to be spent on transit would match that, including a federal share of $625 million.
Rail advocates say a state commitment is necessary to assure the federal government that Minnesota is on board with the project. Failure to set aside the money could put the project behind others across the country.
But some opponents are wary about putting state money on the line without federal commitments, while others say the transportation money would be better spent on roads and buses than rail.
The project could still be inserted as lawmakers resolve differences between the bonding bills or through separate legislation—although the likelihood of those options is unknown.
(Click on the PDFs to the right to see a full list of projects in the bonding bills.)