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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Cal Bahr (R)

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Legislative Update; Metro Transit and Anoka Dispute Charges

Friday, July 22, 2022



Friday, July 22nd, 2022

The NorthStar Metro line has been one giant boondoggle for years. This past week the story continued as Anoka County made what they called their “full and final payment” to Metro Transit. However, Metro Transit says they still have to pay. The issue is over who owes what after millions of federal aid came to subsidize these trains. Anoka County has rightfully put its foot down. 

Before the pandemic, North Star had a daily ridership of roughly 2,7000, with four trains running and special trains for Twins and Vikings games. Today they are at 300 passengers daily, with two regular trains and no extra service. The Anoka County Commission looked at what they were getting and rightly realized they shouldn’t be paying the same amount for services not rendered. Metro Transit and the parent company that manages the line received millions from the American Rescue plan. A tentative deal has been struck, lowering the cost to Anoka County, taking into account these funds. Unfortunately, we are still forced to continue to pay for this luxury item that continues to underperform. 

Northstar is on life support, and instead of pulling the plug, we continue to bail out Metro Transit. As a result, we are wasting millions of taxpayer dollars on a rail line that no one will use because they don’t feel safe going to Minneapolis or because it simply doesn’t meet their transportation needs. Instead, we should be looking to fix the roads and move ahead on the new 1-35W project. 

Guardian of Small Business 

This week I was named a Guardian of Small Business by the National Federation of Independent Business. This award is presented to legislators who vote with small businesses on key issues identified by small business owners.

As a small business owner myself, I know that a business thrives best when the Government gets out of the way. Our small business owners are the backbone of Minnesota’s economy, from the hobby farms making cottage foods and products to bakers, construction workers and those in the skilled trades, or truck drivers like myself. Small businesses keep the wheels turning in this state, and I am so thankful to have received this recognition. America needs more entrepreneurs, innovators, and hard-working Americans now, not less.

Gas prices still a problem

Unfortunately, with fuel prices still high and nearby refineries shutting down permanently (Superior WI) and temporarily (St. Paul Park), we are facing serious concerns about fuel supply and distribution soon. Recently, Governor Walz enacted an executive order purporting to address this problem. However, virtually all regulations regarding fuel supply transportation are federal, not state. The Executive Order says that trucks hauling fuel can operate outside of regular hours; however, drivers cannot drive longer than federal regulations allow without a rest period and cannot haul more than federal laws allow.  One thing he could have done was expedite required licensing (for which DVS is notoriously behind), but he didn’t do that.

 In short, this Executive Order is just an attempt by Walz to convince people that he’s doing something about major economic trends and a federally regulated industry, things out of his control. Instead, President Biden and the Democrats' radical environmentalist agenda is hobbling the entire energy sector, and inflation and the labor shortage can be traced back to the failed policies of Walz and the DFL during the COVID shutdown of our state. 

Choose Freedom,  

Cal Bahr

State Representative, 31B

Next week we will be 60 days past the legislative session, and state laws prohibit legislators from using legislative resources to send unsolicited mail.   So this is the last email newsletter you will be getting from me until after the November election.  While you won’t hear from us for a while, my staff and I are still working on your behalf. If you have any questions or problems regarding your state government, please don’t hesitate to contact my office or me. Email is the best way to get in touch. My Legislative Assistant is Grayson,