by Maddy Hughes
A bill proposed by Rep. Mary Liz Holberg, R-Lakeville to cut funds for the rail project moved up in the Minnesota House Monday night.
The bill would cut $69 million from a transit fund to light rail, commuter rail, and bus rapid transit, and would instead use the money to make up for a potential $51 million cut in general transit funds.
The cut would lead to an increase in bus fare. On Monday it passed through the Transportation Policy and Finance Committee and still waits to pass the Ways and Means Committee.
Proponents of the bill were mostly GOP legislators, reflecting a history of division on the topic of transit funding between them and DFLers, who are known to generally support public transit.
The GOP argument for the bill says that it would amount to an overall increase in funding for transit operations, however the opponents say that their estimate of car sales tax revenue is too high.
The bill includes a plan to first pay off debt for projects like the Central Corridor light rail. To fill in the gap needed to pay for the light rail project, the Met would have to borrow money. The transferred money comes from a quarter-cent sales tax on five counties for rail and bus rapid transit.