The Senate version of the House Transportation Bill is SF1060 and it's 4rth version passed 38-28 yesterday on 3/30. Article here: GOP Senate Passes $5.8 Billion Transportation Bill with $180 Million to Met Council & Mass Transit a Huge Raise
This article is about the House Transportation Omnibus Bill HF861 and it's 4rth and final version that is up for a vote today 3/31. On 3/29 they heard petitions to add projects to the bill, 9 were mass transit bills. So I wrote our elected officials who oversee the 2017 Transportation Omnibus Bill these 5 questions. I got one response so far from Representative John Petersburg, Vice Chair of the House Transportation and Finance Committee.
I got one response so far from Representative John Petersburg, Vice Chair of the House Transportation and Finance Committee. His response was short, yet informative:
"If you can't align with the party against failed mass transit it's easy to predict a repeat of 2011 when the GOP did nothing to reform wasteful transit spending, the un-elected met council, and actually did the opposite and funded horrible transit lines like the Red Rock Corridor and Gateway Corridor with direct funding as your bills this session request.... As you know the GOP lost the house and Senate the following year. When this session is again a failure to cut something simple as failed mass transit spending and Met Council reform I predict a similar defeat for the Republican legislature AND the Governor's seat."
"I don't think it was necessarily the legislature's intent to provide an unlimited open checkbook to subsidize at an "unkown" number of rail lines at an unkown cost. Extending the current losses funded by the legislature to the six additional proposed MetC lines would suggest (by my own calculations) the current $55 million of losses would triple to $165 million. This promises to be an endless obligation and when shouldered up against the talked about 10 year transportation funding plan, this would be a $1.65 billion dollar funding shortfall, not to mention a likely $12 BILLION dollars to construct the lines. This totals by my estimation, $13.65 billion for LRT over the next 10 years compared to $6 billion over the same period for all of our roads and bridges statewide. This is more than DOUBLE the expenditure for less than 3% of total ridership assuming the LRT ridership doubles over the same period. Further, these losses will starve the general fund for other constitutionally mandated responsibilities such as education, transportation, judiciary and public safety and will ultimately lead to yet higher taxes."