Blue Ribbon Panel Final Recommendations

Efficient delivery of Metropolitan Council services

Cover of the report.On August 28, 2020, Governor Tim Walz issued Executive Order 20-88, establishing the Blue Ribbon Committee on the Metropolitan Council’s Structure and Services to review three identified issues.

The committee met over a three-month period, collecting a broad range of input through open (virtual) meetings. Information and testimony were received from state legislative staff, state agency representatives, Metropolitan Council staff, local government officials, and interested advocacy groups and civic organizations.

This report reflects the committee’s findings and consensus recommendations.

Recommendations on three identified issues

  • Review the role of elected versus appointed Metropolitan Council members:
    The committee recommends that Metropolitan Council Members should be appointed by the governor and should not be directly elected to the Council. Metropolitan Council Members should not be sitting local elected officials. The committee recommends a change in current law to establish four-year staggered terms for Council Members, and an expansion of the nominating committee to include a majority of local elected officials.

  • Review the Metropolitan Council’s role as a Metropolitan Planning Organization (“MPO”) and identify and evaluate the ways this federal designation may complement and conflict with the Council’s responsibilities under Minnesota law:
    The committee finds that the U.S. Department of Transportation has determined that the Metropolitan Council is the properly designated MPO for the Twin Cities metropolitan area under federal law. Federal agencies have recognized the legal status of the Council as the region’s MPO directly, through certification of the planning process and plan approval, and award of federal transportation funds.

  • Review the effectiveness of the delivery of regional transit service:
    The committee finds that the current regional transit model allows for conflicting priorities for investment, but also provides value in opportunities for local input. The committee recognizes that stable and long-term funding have been a challenge for the regional transit system, and that there is a great deal of uncertainty moving forward as budget deficits loom and ridership trends were severely disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

About the committee

The committee, established by executive order, included a panel of civic, business, and academic leaders to provide for a broad range of input and expertise. They met over three months and heard from a variety of stakeholders.

Mary Liz Holberg, Chair of the Committee
Dakota County Commissioner, District 6

Peter Bell
Director, Schafer Richardson Realty Trust

Patrick Born
Chair, Board of Directors of the Citizens League

John (Jay) Cowles
Managing Director, Lawrence Creek, LLC

James Hovland
Mayor, City of Edina

Elizabeth Kautz
Mayor, City of Burnsville

Douglas Loon
President, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce

Mary Jo McGuire
Ramsey County Commissioner, District 2

Khani Sahebjam
Chief Strategy Officer, SRF Consulting

George Schember
Vice President, Cargill Transportation & Logistics

Alene Tchourumoff
Senior Vice President at the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank for Community Development and the Center for Indian Country Development

Thomas Weaver
CEO, Achieve Services

Janet Williams
Mayor of Savage

Pahoua Yang Hoffman
Senior Vice President, Community Impact, Saint Paul and Minnesota Foundation

Zhirong (Jerry) Zhao
Professor and Director of the Master of Public Policy Program, University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs