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S.F. No. 3244 - High-Speed Rail Project Advisory Working Group Establishment (First Engrossment)
Author: Senator Matt Schmit
Prepared By: Krista Boyd, Senate Fiscal Analyst (651/296-7681)
Date: April 11, 2016


Section 1, subdivision 1 defines “project” as the planning, design, engineering, and construction of a privately financed passenger high-speed rail line between Rochester and the Twin Cities.

Subdivision 2 establishes a high-speed rail project advisory working group and states that the purpose of the working group is to ensure that all affected stakeholders in a project have the opportunity to engage in public discussion relating to the project.

Subdivision 3 establishes the membership of the working group. All members are voting members. Members serve until the working group expires or until they are replaced by appointing authorities. The group shall elect a chair and may elect a cochair and other officers.

Subdivisions 4 and 5 establish steps and deadlines to convene the High-Speed Rail Project Advisory Working Group.

Subdivision 4 requires the Commissioner of Transportation to notify the executive director of the University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies (CTS) within 15 days of receiving a request to begin negotiating for use of right-of-way.  Within 15 days of receiving that notice, the executive director of CTS must notify all appointing authorities of a deadline for their appointments.

Subdivision 5 requires the appointing authorities to make initial appointments by the deadline set by the executive director of CTS, and requires the executive director of CTS to convene the first meeting within 30 days of the deadline for appointments.

Subdivision 6 requires the working group to examine and report to the Legislature annually by February 1 its activities and information relating to development of the project, and lists specific items that must be included in the report.

Subdivision 7 authorizes the working group to solicit gifts, grants, or donations, which must be deposited in a high-speed rail project account contained in the Special Revenue Fund. These deposits are appropriated to the Commissioner of Transportation for a grant to CTS to support working group activities. Any money remaining in the account upon expiration of the working group shall be transferred to the original sources of the gifts, grants, or donations.

Subdivision 8 permits public members to request compensation for their participation in the working group.

Subdivision 9 requires CTS to provide meeting space, administrative support, and staff support for the working group. Requires CTS to notify all entities responsible for appointing working group members of the effective date of this bill.

Subdivision 10 states that meetings of the working group are subject to the provisions of Minnesota’s Open Meeting Law.

Subdivision 11 requires the working group to report its findings and recommendations to the Legislature annually by February 1, until the expiration of the working group.

Subdivision 12 requires that all costs of the working group are to be paid by nonstate sources that are deposited in the high-speed rail project account created in subdivision 7.

Subdivision 13 sunsets the working group at the earlier date of either (a) June 30, 2020, or (b) the date when the project commences revenue operation or is abandoned.

This bill is effective the day after final enactment.

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