St. Paul residents demand Central Corridor projectby Jessica Mador, Minnesota Public Radio
Neighborhood activists in St. Paul are calling on the Legislature and the governor to restore funding for the Central Corridor light rail project.
St. Paul, Minn. — Neighborhood activists in St. Paul are calling on the Legislature and the governor to restore funding for the Central Corridor light rail project. The line would run along University Avenue in St. Paul.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty recently used his line-item veto authority to cut $70 million for the project out of a bonding bill.
Metric Giles from the Community Stabilization Project held a rally Thursday on University Avenue to protest the cuts. He said the light rail route must be fully funded.
"Going down University Avenue is an important thing, and it's going to be very important that we send a clear message, not just here but in our daily conversation, that we do want that $70 million restored," he said.
Pawlenty spokesman Brian McClung said the governor cut the funding out of concern over the state budget. He said funding for the light rail project remains an option.
"Governor Pawlenty is willing to listen to DFL legislators, if they'd like to come back and talk about Central Corridor, but we have some issues about the project and the operating costs and other things that we want to resolved," McClung said. "We also want to see how they are going to deal with our overall budget deficit and ensure that there is some fiscal responsibility across the board."
The Central Corridor funding was one of 52 items the governor cut from the $925 million bonding bill, which he said was too large.