Two clowns (
by Steve Timmer
Mar 2, 2017, 3:00 PM

The comedy team of David & Linda

When Sen. David Osmek and Rep. Linda Runbeck filed legislative resolutions to divert about a billion federal dollars away from the Southwest Light Rail Transit line, I almost wrote about it then, but I decided to wait for the inevitable denouement. (I like that word; I haven’t had a chance to use it lately.)

Said denouement came in a Strib story that dropped on the website in the evening on March 1st. From the story:

However, an FTA representative said last week that “by law, [Capital Investment Grant] funding may be used only on major transit capital projects. It may not be used for roads, bridges, or other transportation projects.


Well, the FTA representative didn’t say “idiots” but was undoubtedly thinking it.

Osmek, now only slightly less blissfully unaware of his surroundings, then observed in an email:

Osmek said in an e-mail Wednesday that the diversion “may not be possible [may not? ed.], under the current rules. That does not preclude Minnesota from asking and, hopefully, making changes at the federal level that would allow this.”

When asked if Minnesota’s Congressional delegation had been engaged to push for federal rule changes, Osmek demurred, saying he’s not ready to discuss tactics yet.

But I am sure he has some tactics up his sleeve.

I used to ask for a pony when I was a kid, too.

You have to believe David and Linda did this for laughs. Jeepers, I hope so.

It is said that David Osmek has gubernatorial aspirations. He would serve as somebody for Keith Downey to finish ahead of.

Note (3/5): I resolved some time ago to be gentler in my writing. But Osmek and Runbeck’s grandstanding here is so transparent that I had to call it out. Republicans would rather do anything, up to and including taking money from the general fund and kicking Grandma out of the nursing home, before they’d raise the gas tax.

A lobbyist friend appreciated a laugh from the story because the actual transportation debate is so depressing.

Update: Faithful reader Alan (who hasn’t had much to be faithful about here recently) said:

I’m surprised Osmek and his ilk aren’t introducing bills to subsidize buggy whip factories. Osmek and Runbeck are right up there with Carol Molnau when it comes to “forward-looking” transportation legislation.

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