Governor Dayton Derails Park Board Budget For Light Rail Opposition

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If the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board won’t let the train run on time, Governor Mark Dayton won’t punch the board’s budget ticket.

Dayton says the park board is running up the cost of the proposed Southwest Light Rail transit line by spending about $500,000 on consultants for engineering studies of a proposed tunnel under the Kenilworth channel at the Chain of Lakes. “If they have all this additional money to throw around for consultants then they don’t need all the state money that’s being allocated.”

“I don’t think state money should be going for them to spend a half-million dollars on consultants to just obstruct the overall purpose of the project,” Dayton told reporters. He says that the board should not receive state money to “cause this kind of mayhem.”

Dayton’s budget proposes the state withhold nearly $4 million in state aid over two years.

Park board denies it is stalling light rail

Liz Wielinski, President of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board issued a statement saying she is “extremely disappointed that the Governor wants to punish the Park Board and more than 15 million users of regional parks in Minneapolis because the Met Council did not do their job in their pursuit of taking park land.”

Wielinski says the park board is not obstructing the Southwest Light Rail transit line and the board’s actions have not slowed the project. She instead blames lack of support from the legislature for the project’s problems.

Bill Sorem

Bill Sorem is a longtime advertising professional who started with Campbell Mithun and ended up with his own agency. After a tour as a sailing fleet manager in the Virgin Islands he turned to database programming as an independent consultant. He has written sailing guides for the British Virgin Islands and Belize, and written for a number of blogs. In 2010, he volunteered as a citizen journalist with The UpTake and has stayed on as a video reporter.

Michael McIntee

Michael McIntee is a former network TV news executive with more than 30 years of broadcasting experience. He began his broadcasting career at the University of Minnesota's student radio station. He is an expert producer, writer, video editor who has a fondness for new technology but denies that he is a geek. More about Michael McIntee »

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