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Friday, May 15, 2015

Mayor Stephens Uses Misinformation to Protect the Gateway Corridor

On May 12th Woodbury Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens posted this article in the Pioneer Press stating "a bill" in the house passed that  "would eliminate the funding necessary to build any of the new transit service being planned for the East Metro. We would not be able to build the Gold Line that would serve Woodbury." (also known as the Gateway Corridor)

Stephens article doesn't name the bill; however it certainly must reference Representative Linda Runbeck's bill HF899 which is a common sense bill that states: Transit projects like the Gateway Corridor/Gold Line can't be built " unless (1) a law is enacted that specifically identifies and authorizes the project, or (2) state funds are appropriated specifically for the project

This means:
1.) No longer can un-elected bodies like the Met Council lead the construction of these transit corridors until the elected legislature first reviews and approves the project.
2.) No longer can these transit corridors obtain state funds by creating ear marks on to the state omnibus bill. They will need to stand on their own merit for approval in the legislature if HF899 passes. 

In my article: 8 local Republican Legislators Explain their Position on Transit Runbeck clarifies the common sense nature of the bill:
"Obligating taxpayers to spend billions for a transit network that at best will serve 4% of commutes is grounds for mandating that the current Met Council/CTIB decision-making process on transit be required to get specific legislative approval before advancing any transit project.  That's what the bill will do.

What is clear is Mayor Stephens is using scare tactics and mis-information to sway public opinion away from common sense legislation regarding transit. The bill would not prevent any corridor from being built. It would institute much needed integrity to the way transit corridors are built in Minnesota.
-Matt Behning
Editor of Washington County Watchdog
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