McCollum says GOP budget threatens Minn. transit projects

WASHINGTON – Sparks have been flying in the U.S. House this week between Democrats and Republicans over the GOP’s budget road map that’s set to be voted on today. DFL U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, who represents St. Paul, says the budget would end federal funding for mass transit projects in Minnesota.

In a statement, McCollum said the budget recommends an end to the Federal Transit Administration’s Small Starts and New Starts programs and would shift fiscal responsibility for new projects onto state and local governments. McCollum said even the Central Corridor Light Rail, currently under construction, could be threatened because the budget document does not set aside funds, even for projects that already have received federal support.

Other planned transit corridors in the Twin Cities that McCollum says could be affected include the Southwest LRT, and the Gateway, Bottineau, Robert St., Riverview and Rush Line Corridors.

While the Republican budget is likely to clear the House, it’s considered dead on arrival in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Still, Republicans and Democrats see the document as an important expression of how a GOP-controlled Congress might make long-term spending decisions.

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