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SF 2676

1st Engrossment - 92nd Legislature (2021 - 2022) Posted on 02/16/2022 03:07pm

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.
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A bill for an act
relating to transit; requiring the legislative auditor to conduct a special review or
program evaluation of the Southwest light rail transit project; appropriating money.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1. new text beginSOUTHWEST LIGHT RAIL TRANSIT PROJECT REVIEW OR
EVALUATION.
new text end

new text begin (a) The legislative auditor must conduct a special review, program evaluation, or a
combination of the two, of the Southwest light rail transit project. The legislative auditor
must examine the primary reasons for delays and cost increases in the project, whether the
Metropolitan Council properly managed the project's schedule and costs, and whether there
was sufficient Metropolitan Council scrutiny of the route decisions and design choices that
have subsequently required costly changes to project plans. The legislative auditor must
determine the issues to include in any special review or program evaluation. As part of a
special review or program evaluation, the legislature encourages the legislative auditor to:
new text end

new text begin (1) evaluate whether current practices on project cost estimating, contracting, negotiations,
management processes, and hiring result in cost overruns or cause schedule delays;
new text end

new text begin (2) evaluate whether the Metropolitan Council's posting, interviewing, and hiring process
for internal staff resulted in qualified and competent project management personnel;
new text end

new text begin (3) evaluate whether the current practices on reviewing change orders, determining fair
pricing, and establishing credits for lump-sum bid prices are reasonable and appropriate;
new text end

new text begin (4) identify all changes to the project schedule and evaluate whether the changes were
reasonable, appropriate, and impact the project completion date;
new text end

new text begin (5) evaluate whether current practices on requiring, monitoring, and assuring quality of
construction and materials is sufficient;
new text end

new text begin (6) evaluate whether the methodology used by the Metropolitan Council to calculate the
requests for additional public funding for the project is reasonable, appropriate, and aligned
with standard engineering practice;
new text end

new text begin (7) evaluate whether the use of contingency funds is reasonable and appropriate;
new text end

new text begin (8) determine the balance in the contingency fund;
new text end

new text begin (9) determine the balance of available funding currently committed by Hennepin County
and other regional partners;
new text end

new text begin (10) evaluate potential financial impacts on Hennepin County if the Metropolitan Council
requests additional funding from the county beyond the existing contingency funding;
new text end

new text begin (11) determine the revised total project budget and analyze the level of financial risk of
any further changes to the project;
new text end

new text begin (12) determine the current overall project timeline and any specific deadlines or
benchmark dates, identify any currently proposed schedule changes, and determine whether
project changes are on a critical path;
new text end

new text begin (13) evaluate whether current penalties for missed deadlines or benchmarks are
appropriate and, where applicable, if they have been imposed for previously missed deadlines
or benchmarks;
new text end

new text begin (14) make recommendations on how the Metropolitan Council and Hennepin County
can best avoid additional cost overruns, minimize delays, manage risks, assure sufficient
construction quality, effectively address further changes, and increase public transparency
about the current cost and schedule for the project's completion;
new text end

new text begin (15) review the January 2022 settlement between the Metropolitan Council and the
project's prime construction contractor and evaluate whether the settlement was necessary
and appropriate;
new text end

new text begin (16) evaluate whether the Metropolitan Council, vendors, and contractors are adhering
to established safety standards, practices, and protocols in construction, emergency response,
operations, and maintenance; and
new text end

new text begin (17) perform a cost-benefit analysis of the project.
new text end

new text begin (b) The identity of an individual and the statement provided by the individual to the
legislative auditor pursuant to this section are private data on individuals, as defined in
Minnesota Statutes, section 13.02, subdivision 12.
new text end

new text begin (c) The Metropolitan Council must not require any vendor or contractor to notify the
council of any requests or inquiries received by the vendor or contractor from the legislative
auditor pursuant to this section. The Metropolitan Council must not require any vendor or
contractor to provide to the council with information the vendor or contractor provided to
the legislative auditor pursuant to this section.
new text end

new text begin (d) The Metropolitan Council must not discharge, discipline, threaten, otherwise
discriminate against, or penalize an employee of the council regarding the employee's
compensation, terms, conditions, location, or privileges of employment because the employee
participated in a special review or program evaluation described in this section. The
protections provided under this paragraph are in addition to any remedies or employee
protections otherwise provided by law.
new text end

new text begin (e) The Metropolitan Council must not request or require the reassignment or removal
of an employee of a contractor or vendor solely based on that employee's participation in
the review described by this section. The Metropolitan Council must not retaliate or take
adverse action against a vendor or contractor based solely on the fact that an employee of
the vendor or contractor participated in a special review or program evaluation described
by this section.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective the day following final enactment.
new text end

Sec. 2. new text beginAPPROPRIATION.
new text end

new text begin $200,000 in fiscal year 2022 is appropriated from the general fund to the legislative
auditor for the purposes of any special review or program evaluation conducted pursuant
to section 1, including hiring additional staff or contracting with any necessary third parties.
This is a onetime appropriation and is available until June 30, 2023.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective the day following final enactment.
new text end