On Monday afternoon, April 7, 2008, Governor Pawlenty used the line-item veto 52 times to trim the bonding bill to $717 million – a reduction of 13%. Basically the Governor vetoed thousands of jobs that would have been created all around our state at the time when Minnesota’s economy needs the extra boost. The line-item vetoes by the Governor represent thousands of lost opportunities.
The impact for our area, as a result of the Governor’s cut, will mean that funding for the Robert Street Corridor Transit Study ($500,000) and most of the transit will not be available. He also cut $2 million for Early Childhood Learning Facilities. A full list of the line item vetoes is available on the Governor’s website.
Of greatest concern was the veto of a critical $70 million investment in the Central Corridor Light Rail line. By slashing $70 million, the Governor has jeopardized nearly half a billion dollars in federal funding. Without the federal money, light rail will not happen. Estimates are that if we continue to wait on this venture, even by one year, the costs will increase by $40 million.
What was very surprising about this cut was that the Governor, who initially requested the amount in his own budget proposal, actually vetoed his own request. Already, Tuesday morning, the Governor appears to have reviewed his position and softened his stance. Maybe he will decide not to play games with Minnesota’s transportation future and revive his own proposal. We’re hoping he decides to veto his own veto.
Please let me know what you think. Visit www.mn2020.org to send us your comments. Your thoughts will be posted as they come in.
To email this page to a friend click here: