ST. PAUL, Minn. — On Wednesday, the Legislative Audit Commission heard a presentation of findings from the Office of the Legislative Auditor on the Southwest Light Rail Transit Construction: Metropolitan Council Decision Making. The presentation revealed that from the time construction commenced to current day, the project has increased by 38% and delayed by several years, a sign of a troubled project.
In response, House Transportation Finance and Policy Committee Chair Frank Hornstein (DFL-Minneapolis) and Senate Transportation Committee Chair Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis) released the following statement:
“Today’s presentation reiterated our concerns over the mismanagement of this project by the Metropolitan Council. The lack of prior planning, an enforceable schedule, competitive bid process, and peer review process all led to increased costs and long delays. The Metropolitan Council knew that problems were present yet did not share these concerns until much later.
The Metropolitan Council has no mechanisms to feel accountable to the public in any way whatsoever. That has caused haphazard management of the project. The report shows there is no regard for gaining the best professional judgment and experience available. Additionally, the lack of transparency and accountability to its funders as it spends the money of those other jurisdictions is particularly troubling.
We renew our calls for significant reform and restructuring of the Council, including making it an elected body.
We appreciate the Office of the Legislative Auditor for the report and presentation. In the future, we need more accountability for the work of the Metropolitan Council to ensure that this does not happen with future state projects.”