- Associated Press - Monday, February 20, 2017

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The Latest on the Legislature’s transit funding resolution (all times local):

6 p.m.

Transit leaders denied Minnesota Republican lawmakers’ claims of government overreach and wasteful spending on a planned light-rail project that would connect Minneapolis and southwest suburbs.

Metropolitan Council chair Adam Duininck says legislation introduced Monday to try to shift $900 million in federal money from the Southwest Light Rail Transit project is impossible because the funds can only be used for rail projects. He says the lawmakers behind the resolution used incorrect information to cast an unfair light on the amount of public and lawmaker input the project has received.

Republican lawmakers have claimed the light-rail never came to a vote in the Legislature. But a press release from the Metropolitan Council says lawmakers voted to fund aspects of the project in 2009, 2011 and 2013.

____

1:50 p.m.

Republican lawmakers in Minnesota are moving to shift federal funds away from a planned light-rail route between Minneapolis and southwestern suburbs.

Legislation introduced Monday would instead try to shift the $900 million in federal money to be used on general road and bridge repairs statewide. The Southwest Light Rail Transit project is expected to cost roughly $2 billion total.

It’s part of a continuing push by GOP legislators to block transit projects and curb the power of the Gov. Mark Dayton’s appointed Metropolitan Council. And it also highlights Republican efforts to drum up more money for a transportation package.

Republican Sen. David Osmek says he hopes President Donald Trump’s administration would approve the transfer.


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