Legislators Tightening Leash on Met Council

GOP pushing for reforms to rein-in Met Council power

ST. PAUL, MINN – Lawmakers at the Minnesota State Legislature are pushing to make some major changes to the Metropolitan Council.

Republican Senator David Osmek of Mound is pushing two pieces of legislation to reform the Metropolitan Council, the Governor Appointed, 17 member board that oversees transportation projects in the metro. Senator Osmek says it is legislatively mandated that taxpayers pay fifty percent of operating costs for Met Council transportation projects, and wants to change that by requiring the Met Council to get legislative approval before any project gets underway. 

“Rather than waiting until the end when the train is already running, why don’t we have the legislature first, their voters, their elected officials by the voters, be able to chime in on whether they think this is a good idea or not? And that’s what this bill does.” explains Osmek.

And that’s not all Senator Osmek has in store for the Met Council. In his Met Council Reform bill, Senator Osmek is trying to change the membership of the Met Council so that taxpayers across Minnesota have a say in its projects by making members elected officials from across the state. 

John Schadl, a spokesperson for the Met Council, tells Alpha News that while decisions on the makeup of the Council should be between the Governor and the Legislature, they believe changing the legislative process of how the Met Council executes projects may have the unintended consequence of usurping local control over transit and transportation projects by the Minnesota Legislature, stating, “Cities and counties that are served by transit projects select the mode of transit and set its route and then they invest in the project with local dollars and local enhancements.”

Senator Osmek says he expects his bills to receive a floor vote soon.

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Julia Erynn