There are less than two weeks remaining in the 2016 session, yet many of the big issues of the session remain unresolved. It’s my hope that the Legislature and Governor can work together to compromise on taxes, bonding and transportation plans for Minnesota. I would like to take this opportunity to provide a brief transportation conference committee overview from our 9 weeks at the Capitol.
The House and Senate Transportation Conference Committee has held a total of 5 meetings since we adjourned last year. Of those meetings, we have walked through the Senate and House bill differences a couple of times, took testimony from a wide range of people urging support of a long-term, sustainable and comprehensive transportation package this year, heard a proposal from the Railroads on how to address rail safety, and received testimony on Representative Albright's bill to change the structure of the Metropolitan Council.
The Senate presented the first offer of this year last Friday and the House sent a counter-offer on Wednesday. No offers have been accepted and our will work continue until we pass a bill or the clock runs out; which must be by May 23 according to the Minnesota Constitution. I’ve attached an article excerpt from the Pioneer Press for further information on both proposals.
I have been pursuing a compromise for a long-term sustainable plan at every opportunity and one I might add, that is financially sound. However, it is difficult to compromise when one side’s only reply is ‘no’.
As a minority member of the Transportation Conference Committee, I’ll continue to do what I can to pass a multi model transportation funding bill.