TLC Opposes Met Council Amendment to Add 12 Highway Expansion Projects

HighwayKick-starting the economy is Congress’ number one priority. As they consider an economic recovery package, we need to raise our voices and make sure they use this moment to chart a new direction for our nation’s transportation system.

Congressman James Oberstar, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman, has drafted a bill in which highway projects would get $30 billion, transit would receive $12 billion and environmental infrastructure programs would get $14 billion under an $85 billion infrastructure stimulus blueprint. Among the big winners in the plan would be Amtrak, which would receive $1.5 billion — the equivalent, in the recent past, of an entire year’s worth of funding, according to Congressional Quarterly.

In Minnesota, MnDOT and the Metropolitan Council are compiling lists of transportation projects they deem “ready to go,” meaning projects that could put people to work within 90 days of funding. Transit for Livable Communities is working to ensure that the Metropolitan Council doesn’t include twelve potential highway expansion projects in its Transportation Policy Plan (Plan). While TLC understands the Metropolitan Council’s desire to identify projects that would be eligible for federal stimulus dollars, we  believe that the current plan identifies sufficient projects from all transportation modes that would allow the Twin Cities metropolitan region to take full advantage of federal economic stimulus funding.

Transit for Livable Communities also protests the lack of transparency in the process being used to solicit additional projects.The public deserves more details, more inclusive public engagement efforts, and a longer period of time to comment. More details should be provided to the public about the process for adding and ultimately selecting projects.

See TLC’s full comments to the Met Council here.