Messages from the Council Chair

Council services in event of state shutdown

July 2011

The Metropolitan Council, like state agencies, has been working with the Dayton administration on contingency planning in the unfortunate event of a state government shutdown. 

Council Chair Susan Haigh
The Council, however, is not a state agency, but rather a political subdivision of the state with many of its own administrative operations. As such, the Council plans to continue to operate and provide services, barring a decision by the court that says otherwise.

Many Council services do not rely on state funding and those services continue; wastewater collection and treatment, for example.

Transit services and activities, however, are funded in part with state appropriations. The Council has determined we are able to continue to operate transit services, including Metro Transit bus and rail, Metro Mobility, Transit Link and other contract services, at least for a period of time. We also plan to continue construction activities on Central Corridor. Again-- unless the court determines otherwise.

To date, we’ve been able to convey very little information about the impacts of a possible shutdown. That’s primarily because we don’t ourselves know the full implications of a possible shutdown of this magnitude. It is unprecedented and complex.

We very much hope there will be a budget resolution soon.

However, in the absence of a state budget, we are also beginning the required and lengthy process of holding hearings and implementing fare and service adjustments, based on the worst-case scenario of a $110-million reduction in the state’s general fund commitment to transit, described in the House/Senate Transportation bill.

Since we have to base our fare and service adjustment recommendation on such a significant reduction, we are preparing and planning for a substantial impact on transit service.

In closing, our thoughts are with all the people and organizations that rely on state funding and the important services that government provides. This is a time of uncertainty and possible hardship.

We continue to be hopeful that a budget solution will be reached soon. We know it’s an administration priority to continue those services that make our region and our state the great place it is.

Susan Haigh

June 2011