By Andrea Kiepe, Organizer
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The 2016 legislative session begins on March 8. In the lead-up, we’ve been traveling with the Transportation Forward campaign to cities in Greater Minnesota, collaborating with local leaders to call for increased statewide funding for all transportation modes. This continues to be TLC’s top legislative priority because our current system leaves too many Minnesotans—from millennials to working families to seniors—still struggling to get where they need to go. To ensure communities can succeed and address these transportation problems, we believe that funding is critical.
Our complete 2016 legislative agenda
- Support the Transportation Forward proposal to increase dedicated funding for multimodal transportation statewide.
• Metro-area transit, bicycling, and walking: Proposed ¾-cent sales tax increase in the 7-county metro area raises approximately $350 million per year. Ensure a balance of expenditures between rail and bus to ensure equity outcomes are advanced.Support 10 percent ($35 million) set aside of this revenue for bicycle, pedestrian, and ADA compliance projects.
• Greater Minnesota transit: Use sales tax on leased vehicles (currently going to general fund) and/or other funding options to increase funding for transit in Greater Minnesota by $45 million per year.
• Greater Minnesota bike and pedestrian projects: $16 million per year additional by prioritizing flexible federal funds.
• Roads and bridges statewide: Support a gas tax increase that addresses statewide needs for safety and maintenance.
• Support passage of short-term funding, if long-term cannot be achieved, and if it is within the context of long-term need (i.e., specifies unmet need) and meets our guiding principles of statewide, multimodal (i.e., roads/bridges, public transit, bicycle/pedestrian), balanced, and equitable. Balanced means both roads and bridges, and transit/bicycle/walk would receive at least 40 percent of additional funding.
- Support general obligation bonding for transit capital projects (e.g. BRT, Southwest LRT), high speed rail, Safe Routes to School, bike/pedestrian routes.
- Support changes in statute to provide more flexibility in the design of city and county roads that receive state funding than is currently allowed by Minnesota State Aid Rules.
- Support legislation to allow communities across the state to set speed limits on city streets at 25 miles per hour.
Bring transportation issues to your caucus
This Tuesday, March 1, at 7:00 PM, Minnesotans have the opportunity to participate in precinct caucuses. No matter your party affiliation, this is a great chance to elevate transit as well as bike and pedestrian safety issues. Precinct caucuses allow people to bring priority issues to their party leadership and even become a delegate!
Thanks to our allies at the Sierra Club North Star Chapter, it’s easy to bring prepared resolution language to your caucus Tuesday night, supporting robust funding for better transportation options across Minnesota. There’s also a helpful guide to the basics of how precinct caucuses work and how you can participate. To find out where your caucus takes place, use the Minnesota Election Caucus Finder. Thanks for making a difference Tuesday night!
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Precinct Caucus Resolution for Transportation:
Whereas, Minnesota’s transportation system needs immediate attention to improve bicycling and walking connections, expand our bus and rail options, replace deficient bridges, and improve congested roads;
Whereas, Minnesotans need more equitable access to transportation options that connect us to jobs, housing, education, and services;
Whereas, our current transportation system adversely affects our economic competitiveness, air and water quality, and quality of life;
Whereas, building out the metro-area transit system would save billions in reduced travel time for individuals and businesses;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Minnesota’s leaders support investment in a more balanced, multi-modal transportation system that is racially just, economically competitive, promotes a healthy lifestyle, and is safer and more accessible for all users, of all ages and abilities.