Funding for Transit in Minnesota, California Preserve Federal Budget Status Quo
Peter Callaghan dissects the implications of the 2017 federal budget's inclusion of funding for the Southwest Light Rail Transit (SWLRT) project from downtown Minneapolis to Eden Prairie.
According to Callaghan's premise, whether the federal funding was big news depends on which side of the SWLRT debate you're on. Supporters had cause for celebration in what had previously seemed like it would be a bleak season for federal transit funding.
For opponents, though, the news was dismissed as a blip in a long-running battle that is far from over. And with so many hurdles left to leap, they argued, the project’s relatively paltry allocation in the budget, $10 million, was hardly cause for a victory lap, especially if you account for the hostility of the state Legislature and the uncertainty surrounding one of the key local funding mechanisms.
Callaghan decides that the $10 million in funding was "probably: of course" a big deal, for several reasons. First of all, the budget preserves the transit status quo (California received transit funding too, in the form of $100 million for Caltrain electrification and $800 million total for nine projects around the state).
The article includes more about the immediate next steps and the long-term prospects for the Southwest Light Rail Transit project, so residents of the region can know what to work for as the Trump Administration gets more legislative experience under its belt.