By Pat Kessler


MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota’s governor and top legislative leaders Thursday gave up their plans to call a special session to finish all the work left undone from the regular session in May.

And both sides are blaming each other for the break down.

Republicans refused to agree to any special session if it included money for the new Southwest Light Rail (SWLRT) project in the western Twin Cities suburbs.

Mark Dayton and Kurt Daudt (credit: CBS)

Mark Dayton and Kurt Daudt (credit: CBS)

And Democrats, including Gov. Mark Dayton, will not agree to a session without it, calling Republican resistance “pure politics.”

“It’s just all about the politics. It’s about putting something on some people’s re-election brochure saying, ‘We killed Southwest Light Rail and the metropolitan dollars, boondoggle dollars and waste and etcetera, etcetera,'” Dayton said. “Meanwhile, the highways get more congested, and there’s no alternative being proposed”

Rep. Kurt Daudt, the Republican house speaker, says Dayton was the real roadblock to bi-partisan agreement on the special session.

“Let’s set aside the things we can’t agree on and let’s be Minnesotan, let’s be ‘Minnesota nice’ and let’s focus on the things we can agree on,” Daudt said. “Let’s get a session and just work on the things we can agree on, and the governor flat out said, ‘No, we’re not going to work on those things without Southwest Light Rail.'”

Without the legislature approving money for SWLRT, it is very possible the federal government could yank hundreds of millions of dollars to pay for the line and send it to another city.

Daudt said Thursday evening that he thinks the project “is dead.”

And it is not just SWLRT that is in jeopardy. The $500 million tax cut bill is also likely dead.

Pat Kessler