Legislative Agenda: TLC Fights for Better Transit, Walking, Bicycling, and Development in Minnesota

Karen
Here is what Transit for Livable Communities will work on during the 2009 legislative session:

Transit

  1. Support new funding to eliminate projected funding shortfall for metro area transit and greater MN bus systems. Metro Transit and regional transit providers face the largest deficit in history: a whopping $91 million for 2010 and 2011. Approximately one-third of the funding for the metro bus system comes from the Motor Vehicle Sales Tax (MVST); with fewer people buying new and used cars, MVST revenue has dropped sharply. The new ¼ cent sales tax (in five metro counties) cannot be used to pay for regular route bus service. If additional money is not provided, fares may be increased by another 50 cents and/or service could be cut.
  2. Support bonding for Central Corridor. Transit for Livable Communities supports bonding for the remainder of the state-level funding needed for the Central Corridor light rail transit line. The second year of the Minnesota legislative biennium (in even-numbered years- 2008, 2010, 2012) is when lawmakers decide which state priorities to fund. The state’s bonding can be considered like a credit card- it is how the state finances new improvements on projects that the state owns- trails, bridges, roads, higher education buildings, etc. Lawmakers spend the majority of this session viewing state projects up for funding and then deciding where state bonds will be awarded.
  3. Support funding or policy related to high speed intercity passenger rail. Legislators may put more resources toward creating high-speed passenger rail that would run from the Twin Cities to Duluth and Chicago. Transit for Livable Communities would support such a bill.

Bicycle/Pedestrian Safety

  1. Support legislation that allows cities to use photo enforcement technology to ticket vehicles or drivers running a red light. Significant research from across the United States documents that red light cameras save lives and money.The coalition that supported a bill that nearly passed last session will try again this year. TLC endorsed photo enforcement in our report Sharing the Road: Encouraging Bicycling and Walking in Minnesota, and we testified in favor of red light enforcement legislation in the past.
  2. “Complete Streets” language. The streets of our cities and towns should be designed for everyone to use, but too many of our streets are unsafe for people on foot or bike. Communities across the country are working to build road networks that are safe for all travelers. During this session, legislators may offer language that would require bridge reconstruction projects authorized in the 2008 transportation bill to include accommodations for bicyclists and pedestrians. This language could be a first step to in working toward a complete streets policy in 2010.

Land Use/Development

  1. Support “Building Sensible Communities.” Now that new rail and busway projects have a predictable source of funding, it is important that land use practices that support these investments are put in place. This legislative package, sponsored by the Minnesota Environmental Partnership, would encourage improved land use planning by (1) requiring an analysis of greenhouse gas emissions for local comprehensive plans reviewed by the Metropolitan Council, (2) new financial incentives for transit oriented-development, (3) new Mn/DOT goals to require a reduction in driving per capita, and (4) requiring additional analysis of greenhouse gas emissions during project planning stages.

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