Transportation numbers emerge on the stimulus.  After both chambers of Congress approved separate versions of an economic recovery bill, the Conference Committee reached an agreement on a compromise bill totaling $789 billion.  The bill includes $46 billion for transportation projects, with $8.4 billion for transit, $8 billion for high-speed rail, and $1.3 billion for Amtrak.  Transit advocates worked tirelessly to make sure transportation projects received appropriate funding.   Although transit could have received more funds, advocates’ efforts secured crucial funding that will help put America on the path towards a 21st century transportation system. 

Operating assistance as an economic boost.  Although the stimulus bill provides billions for infrastructure, it does not include operating funds for mass transit.  Transit advocates argue that operating assistance is exactly the type of stimulus currently needed because it is considered a “ready to go” project.  Providing federal funds to ease operating budget deficits will prevent job cuts and make it easier for low-income workers to get to their jobs or search for new ones, which will provide a much needed boost to the ailing economy.  

Bicycling and Walking

Proposal for Minneapolis bike share program.  Following a call in November 2008 for proposals that would help more people bike and walk, the Bike Walk Twin Cities initiative, administered by Transit for Livable Communities, selected four programs to submit full proposals, including a bike share program for the city of Minneapolis, a bike commuter facility at the Hennepin County Government Center, a bike donation program, and a bike center at the University of Minnesota.   

Rep. Blumenauer defends bike infrastructure.  Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) is leveling sharp criticism at legislators attempting to strip bike funding from the stimulus bill.  Citing the passage of bond measures across the country that favor spending on alternative transportation such as bicycles, Rep. Blumenauer stressed Americans’ growing desire for safe and connected bicycle facilities.  Blumenauer named multiple benefits of increased bicycle use, including more jobs, reduced transportation costs, increased personal health, a cleaner environment, reduced carbon footprints, and greater community livability. 


Target Plaza design anticipates future transit stationTarget Plaza, the pedestrian bridge and public space that will link downtown with the Twins’ Target Field and mass transit, expects thousands of daily commuters to pass by once the adjacent transit station opens next year.  The Plaza’s train platforms are expected to become the metro area's central hub for commuter traffic in the coming years, as future light-rail lines to St. Paul, Eden Prairie and Maple Grove meet the already-funded Hiawatha and North Star trains. 

Full Digest

Transit and Roads

Can we transform the auto-industrial society? (NY Review of Books) 
Survey maps which park-and-ride lots are popular (Star Tribune) 
Transit: An economic recovery vehicle (Minnesota 2020) 
The case for free transit (Think Progress)
Highlights of the compromise economic stimulus bill (Associated Press) 
Rosemount gives another chance to transit service (Star Tribune) 
Will stimulus dilute highway bill? (CQ Politics) 
Buses, trains and stimulus (New York Times) 
Transportation officials making plans for stimulus dollars (Minnesota Daily) 
Highways, bike trails and rails are 'shovel ready' in MN (Minnesota Public Radio) 
Streetfilms: Rep. Blumenauer on greener transportation (Tree Hugger) 
Comparing transportation spending in the House and Senate stimulus (T4America) 
West Metro has edge in stimulus spending on road projects (Pioneer Press) 
Final Senate compromise avoids cutting transit funds (The Transport Politic) 
Lobbying stressed for high-speed rail through Rochester (Rochester Post-Bulletin)
Another gift for the auto industry (Boston Globe)
Senator Dodd says infrastructure bank still viable (Reuters) 
MnDOT outlines plans for south-central MN construction (Minn Post) 
MnDOT pushes to expand program to cut blowing snow (KSTP) 
Joint planning Board focuses on Highway 197 corridor (Bemidji Pioneer)
St. Paul University Ave. businesses discuss parking cuts (Twin Cities Daily Planet) 

Bicycling and Walking

Bike and walking paths will compliment Central Corridor light rail route (Minn Post) 
Bike share program could come in fall (Minnesota Daily) 
Transit and bikes: Meant for each other (Streets Blog) 
Bike boulevards: Social, health, economic (Citiwire) 
Bike sharing planned for Minneapolis (Twin Cities Daily Planet) 
Rep. Blumenauer defends bike infrastructure (Huffington Post)
Rolling on ice (Southwest Journal) 

Space around Twins' Target Field: A public park on concrete (Minn Post) 
How transit-oriented development works (World Changing) 
Obama: The days of "building sprawl forever" are over (Streets Blog)