Dakota County’s dream of Bus Rapid Transit along the Cedar Transitway continues to face the funding issues it has for the last several years. Following the previous governor’s decision to cut most unnecessary funding to help close the budget gap, many unpopular discussions in the county centered on raising taxes in order to fund the project.
After several months and little change, BRT funding remains $9 million short of its final goal. Unfortunately instead of continuing to wait out the project or cancel it completely due to the lack of funding and the overall financial state of Minnesota, Republican State Representative Tara Mack introduced a bill, in apparent opposition of her party’s rhetoric about borrowing additional dollars when the state is facing such a large deficit, which would bond for the remaining $9 million.
From the text of the bill:
Section 1. CEDAR AVENUE BUS RAPID TRANSITWAY (BRT).
Subdivision 1. Appropriation. $9,000,000 is appropriated from the bond proceeds fund to the Metropolitan Council for environmental assessment, preliminary engineering, design, right-of-way acquisition, and construction of bus shoulders and transit facilities as part of the Cedar Avenue Bus Rapid Transitway (BRT) in Dakota and Hennepin Counties from 162nd Street in Lakeville to 28th Avenue in Bloomington.
Subd. 2. Bond sale. To provide the money appropriated in section 1 from the bond proceeds fund, the commissioner of management and budget shall sell and issue bonds of the state in an amount up to $9,000,000 in the manner, upon the terms, and with the effect prescribed by Minnesota Statutes, sections 16A.631 to 16A.675, and by the Minnesota Constitution, article XI, sections 4 to 7.
According to Apple Valley Patch’s blurb on the bonding bill, Rep. Mack said that while focus should remain on the state’s budget, this is an important issue which is precisely what raising the state’s debt-load is supposed to accomplish for its residents.
What do you think about Republican State Representative Tara Mack’s decision to push for $9 million in bonds to fund the remainder of BRT? Do you think it was a wise move on her part to break from the rest of the Republican party which recently denounced the governor’s own desire for extensive bonding during a time of a heavy deficit? Are you surprised that BRT is still unfunded? Whatever you have to say about Tara Mack’s $9 million bonding bill go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear what you have to say.