Call Governor Pawlenty and Urge His Action on the Central Corridor
For years, federal, state, and local officials have worked tirelessly to move Minnesota toward a 21st Century transportation system. This hard work culminated last week when we sent the Governor a bonding bill that included $70 million in funding for the Central Corridor light-railway between St. Paul and Minneapolis. The only thing left before the project became a reality was a signature from Governor Pawlenty.
Unfortunately this Monday, the Governor chose to line-item veto the Central Corridor from the Bonding bill. The Governor has both the authority and the responsibility to apply his perspective to the work of the legislature and one tool is the veto. But the veto of this project took the Bonding bill well below the $825 million dollars the Governor set as his stated limit. The Governor's veto pen brought a vision for a better, safer, Minnesota transportation system to a screeching halt.
It's difficult to understand the Governor’s action. He asked local leaders to trim the project and they did. He was in favor of the proposal less than two months ago when he included the project in his own bonding proposal. He championed the need to address global warming by reducing greenhouse gases, and the Central Corridor was by all accounts, our best single chance to reduce those gases.
The Governor's decision to veto Central Corridor is disappointing for several reasons, but perhaps most significantly, the Governor jeopardized hundreds of millions of federal dollars with his veto. Building light-rail is expensive, and several major regions are competing for scarce federal dollars. By pulling the rug out at the last minute, those funds are now likely to go elsewhere and the corridor will go to the back of the line for future funding.
The Central Corridor project is vital to the long-term development of Minnesota's changing transportation system. It is critical to our efforts to reduce greenhouse gases. Governor Pawlenty is the one person who can move Central Corridor forward and he has put on the brakes.
If it is important to you, I encourage you to call Governor Pawlenty (651-296-3391) and ask him to put Central Corridor back on track.
Posted on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 by Erin Murphy,