Here’s a cautiously hopeful note for state government’s new year: The issue most responsible for tripping up the 2015-16 Legislature — light-rail transit — isn’t likely to be back at the Capitol in 2017. Instead, it appears to be moving to a county courthouse near you, if you’re in the metro area. And it might have you paying higher sales taxes before the year is out.
That at least is the plan that’s being teed up by the leaders of the Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB). That’s a nine-year-old, five-county government entity most Minnesotans have never heard of, even those who know well its biggest accomplishment, Metro Transit’s Green Line.
Three of CTIB’s counties — Hennepin, Ramsey and Washington — want to build several more new transit lines in the next decade. The odd wrinkle: It appears that the most plausible way to for them to proceed involves dissolving CTIB and going it either alone or as a voluntary cluster.