Minnesota's Metropolitan Council
Did you know...?
The Met Council is made up 17 members, one of these is an at-large apppointment, with the other 16 each represent a geographic district in the seven-county area.
Charlie Zelle, Chairperson for the Met Council was originally appointed by Gov. Tim Walz in December, 2019. Zelle was reappointed by Walz in January, 2023 despite his terrible track record with the Southwest Light rail project - also known as the Green Line.
All members are appointed by the Governor of Minnesota
The Minnesota Senate may confirm or reject each appointment to the Met Council.
In 1967 the state legislation created the Metropolitan Council in response to growing issues of wastewater contamination due to widespread use of septic systems.
The Met Council now has a variety of roles in regional water/wastewater managment, parks, public transit, urban planning and development.
The Met Council has survived multiple attempts at reform by both Republicans and Democrats in the state legislature, particularly in reponse to criticisism stemming from:
Being an appointed body, rather than elected
Its ability to wield an enormous budget
Its long-standing exemption from a federal requirement that members of regional bodies that distribute federal transportation and planning dollars be elected
Its unique ability to supercede/invalidate municipal land use planning that conflicts with its own objectives
This begs the question:
Where will the additional money come from? Additional taxes? Levies? Bonds?
The State budget surplus?
The Met Council and Light Rail transit
The Met Coucil has the responsibility of helping manage transit projects that receive federal funding/subsidies, though Hennepin County is the primary local-funding provider.
The federal government agreed to contribute 50% of projected construction costs assiciated with the Southwest Light Rail project, capping their contribution at the time to $929 million dollars. However, based on recent figures revealed by Minnesota's Legislative Auditor, it's now estimated to cover only 36% of expected costs.