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Coleman: Disappointed By Gov. Vetoing LRT Money

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Coleman: Disappointed By Gov. Vetoing LRT Money

WASHINGTON (AP) ―

Sen. Norm Coleman said he's disappointed that Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a fellow Republican, vetoed funding for Minneapolis-to-St. Paul passenger rail, arguing it's a worthwhile project.

"I believe it's important," Coleman said on a conference call with reporters Thursday. "I will raise my voice as strong as I can, as loud as I can. The federal commitment is there."

This week, Pawlenty stripped $70 million out of a bonding bill for the light rail project, known as Central Corridor. It was one of 52 items Pawlenty struck from a $925 million borrowing plan that he said was too large.

"I've had this vision for 20 years of this connecting link between our twin cities," said Coleman, a former St. Paul mayor.

He said he was still hopeful the project would go forward.

"Bottom line, by the way, that I learned as a mayor: things die a number of times before they eventually succeed," he said. "So I think it's premature to read the last rites on this project ... I'm committed to this project."

Pawlenty spokesman Brian McClung said in an e-mail: "We recognize there are differences of opinion about the Central Corridor project and the governor's veto. Governor Pawlenty has the utmost respect for Senator Coleman."

Pawlenty has faced criticism over the veto from local, state and federal Democratic officials.

Earlier this week, he left the door open to reviving state financing for the line later this session.

"Well, it may come back, we'll see," Pawlenty said on WCCO-AM Tuesday.

 

  

(© 2009 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)