Good morning, and welcome to the first Friday of the Minnesota State Fair. Whether or not you like the Fair, at least it’s Friday. Here’s the Digest:

1. Gov. Mark Dayton endorsed a plan to line up funding for a local share of the proposed Southwest Light Rail line. The stopgap plan calls for the Metropolitan Council to borrow more than $90 million and for Hennepin and other metro counties to kick in more money. One Republican lawmaker called the plan an “end-run” around the legislative process. (MPR News)

2. Donald Trump’s name will be on the Minnesota ballot in November. So will Mike Pence’s. Until Thursday they weren’t on the ballot, because the state Republican Party missed a step in the required process. But the party fixed  the problem Wednesday night, days before the deadline to get the Republican nominee on the ballot. (MPR News)

3. In an interview with CNN Trump walked back earlier comments that signaled he might be changing his mind on a path to citizenship for people in the country illegally. But he didn’t make it clear whether he still intends to deport the 11 million people who are here illegally. (CNN)

4. Trump’s earlier signal that he might soften his hard-line stance on immigration wasn’t pleasing anyone. During a taped appearance that was broadcast Wednesday night he seemed to suggest that he was open to a path to citizenship for otherwise law-abiding people who were in the country illegally. In fact, he sounded a bit like some of the other Republican candidates he vanquished during primary season, notably Jeb Bush. (New York Times)

5. Hillary Clinton says Trump is turning over the Republican Party to a “radical fringe.” In a speech that appeared aimed at moderate Republicans, Clinton again used Trump’s own words to try to disqualify him for the presidency. She accused Trump and some of his new campaign staff of being racists. It was an allegation that Trump disputed. (NPR)

A Metro Transit Green Line light rail transit car. Regina McCombs | MPR News

The agency that operates the Twin Cities mass transit system will move ahead with a new financing plan for the imperiled Southwest Corridor light rail project, bypassing the Legislature for now given deep-rooted Republican resistance to the route.

Adam Duininck, chairman of the Metropolitan Council, will seek approval as early as next week to committing the board to more than $90 million in borrowing.

Additionally, the Hennepin County Regional Rail Authority and the Counties Transportation Improvement Boards would have to consent to $20.5 million each in additional contributions.

The three sources would cover the remaining local share needed to unlock federal money toward half of the $1.8 billion line.

“I want to be very clear about this: These are bad options,” Duininck said. “If there is not a state solution that occurs at the legislative level, the only options available to us are bad options. There are challenges for our agency and certainly it is a question of going back to funders who have already given a lot to this project.”

The alternative, he said, is to wind the project down beginning next week because it would run out of cash by October and the federal money would be in jeopardy.

Gov. Mark Dayton blessed the arrangement after a nearly three hour forum he convened to discuss the 14-mile line that would run from Minneapolis to Eden Prairie.

“I believe this project is in the best interest of the metropolitan region, I believe it is in the best interest of Minnesota, and I believe it is very important that it go forward,” Dayton said.

All three partners in the latest funding equation would have to hold hearings and approve the added spending. The goal is to have that happen within days.

There were still unanswered questions about the financing model, which was developed during intense private discussions this week. One concern is whether ongoing litigation over the Southwest line could make the Met Council borrowing plan hard to pull off.

Republican legislators who attended the forum criticized the move as a power play. State Rep. Tony Albright, R-Prior Lake, said lawmakers were under the belief the Met Council wouldn’t go this route.

“I think that we are visiting and witnessing an end-run on the legislative process,” Albright said.

Rep. Linda Runbeck, R-Circle Pines, said much of the maneuvering around Southwest  light rail has been questionable.

“We have deep concerns. We feel the process has been flawed,” she said. “We feel that the project, at the exorbitant cost that it is, is one that merits a lot of questions.”

The envisioned borrowing, through a mechanism known as certificates of participation, wouldn’t formally require the Met Council to issue the debt until next summer.

That would leave open the possibility the 2017 Legislature could revisit the funding question. But it would tie up the funds because the Met Council wouldn’t be able to allocate the anticipated debt costs toward other projects.

The Southwest issue was among the major obstacles to a special session where the Legislature would also take up packages for tax relief and general construction borrowing. Both fell short of becoming law during the Legislature’s regular session.

The forum itself covered familiar ground on both sides of the light rail controversy.

Opponents of the line highlighted their objection to both the route through the Chain of Lakes, the cost and the elevation of fixed rail over more flexible bus routes. Supporters stressed that Southwest would connect people on both ends of the line with employment and alleviate some car congestion.

In a move that would not ordinarily qualify as news, the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office on Thursday listed Donald Trump and Mike Pence on the November ballot as the Republican candidates for president and vice president.

The only reason it’s worth noting is that former Republican state senate staffer Michael Brodkorb raised an alert on Twitter Wednesday night about whether the Republican Party of Minnesota followed the proper procedure in electing alternate electors back at congressional district conventions — a necessary step to get Trump on the ballot.

But at the Minnesota State Fair Thursday, Republican Party Chair Keith Downey said Brodkorb was mistaken.

He acknowledged that party officials thought they had done everything they needed to several weeks ago, but when they discovered the issue involving the alternate electors they left it to the state executive committee to fix.

“Our state constitution says that your executive committee can do what it needs to do to get the electors all organized, so they are,” Downey said.

The executive committee met Wednesday night, Downey said and sent paperwork to the secretary of state’s office Thursday morning.

“People can make a big deal out of it if they want,” Downey said. “The deadline is the 29th.”