By Jennifer Harmening Thiede, Communications & Member Engagement Manager
Here we are: it’s mid-March and midway through the 2015 legislative session. Both Mother Nature and transportation advocates are turning up the heat.
Successful Day of Action
In recent weeks, Minnesotans from across the state came together for Transportation Day of Action at the State Capitol, united in support of a statewide, multimodal transportation solution. Transit riders from the metro and Greater Minnesota kicked things off at a press conference speaking up for greater investments in bus and rail. Supporters heard from state and coalition leaders and had meetings with their own legislators throughout the afternoon. Later in the day, a broad coalition of advocates delivered 10,000 Move MN postcards, some from every district in Minnesota, calling on legislators to fund all modes of transportation in 2015. Special thanks to the TLC members who joined us at the event and who contacted their state senators and representatives that day.
Transit Challenge Accepted
In early March, Transit for Livable Communities and allied groups followed up with the “Roll With Us” Transit Challenge. We wanted lawmakers considering transportation funding to experience the realities of today’s transit system firsthand, so we called on them to get around on the bus or train as many of their constituents do. A bipartisan group of twenty-five legislators accepted our challenge, with many documenting their transit trips on social media (see #HowWeRollMN on Facebook and Twitter). Some were regular riders, while others were new to the transit system.
Transit Challenge Week concluded with Minnesota's Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith highlighting the importance of investing in a modern transit system. Smith rode the #67 bus with Metropolitan Council Chair Adam Duininck, inviting media along, and holding a short press conference with transit riders and legislators to draw attention to the transit needs in our state.
Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, Rep. Frank Hornstein, Rep. Carolyn Laine, Met. Council Chair Adam Duininck, and a crowd of transit riders gathered to speak to the press about the importance of investing in transit.
Big thanks to the legislators who participated in the Transit Challenge:
- Senator Scott Dibble (61, Minneapolis)
- Senator Eric Pratt (55, Prior Lake)
- Senator David Senjem (25, Rochester)
- Senator Patricia Torres Ray (63, Minneapolis)
- Representative Connie Bernardy (41A, Fridley)
- Representative Jim Davnie (63A, Minneapolis)
- Representative Raymond Dehn (59B, Minneapolis)
- Representative Laurie Halverson (51B, Eagan)
- Representative Alice Hausman (66A, Saint Paul)
- Representative Frank Hornstein (61A, Minneapolis)
- Representative Melissa Hortman (36B, Brooklyn Park)
- Representative Mike Freiberg (45B, Golden Valley)
- Representative Sheldon Johnson (67B, Saint Paul)
- Representative Clark Johnson (19A, North Mankato)
- Representative Carolyn Laine (41B, Columbia Heights)
- Representative John Lesch (66B, Saint Paul)
- Representative Leon Lille (43B, North Saint Paul)
- Representative Sandra Masin (51A, Eagan)
- Representative Rena Moran (65A, Saint Paul)
- Representative Dave Pinto (64B, Saint Paul)
- Representative Jennifer Schultz (7A, Duluth)
- Representative Erik Simonson (7B, Duluth)
- Representative Mike Sundin (11A, Esko)
- Representative JoAnn Ward (53A, Woodbury)
- Representative Ryan Winkler (46A, Golden Valley)
We encourage other legislators to take up the challenge and try transit in their home districts during the legislature’s upcoming Easter/Passover break.
The month ahead will be critical in the fight for multimodal transportation funding. There are many exciting, essential ways to get engaged and make sure your voice is heard before the session ends. Below are three big, upcoming dates to add to your calendar. If you want to see transit and safe connections for bicycling and walking funded in 2015, join us!
Senate Transportation Committee Bill Hearing
Friday, March 20, 11 AM, State Capitol, Rm. 107, Saint Paul
Help us pack the hearing room when the Senate Transportation Committee hears SF 87. The bill, introduced by Sen. Scott Dibble, would significantly increase dedicated funding for transit, bicycling, and walking, while also funding roads and bridges in Minnesota. This bill has TLC's enthusiastic support and also closely aligns with the Move MN proposal. Let's make a strong showing for multimodal transportation funding on Friday and ensure SF 87 moves forward.
Move MN Phone Bank (Sponsored by TLC)
Thursday, April 2, 6-9 PM, AFSCME Council 5, South Saint Paul
Transit for Livable Communities is sponsoring the Move MN phone bank on April 2. Volunteer with us! We'll be making calls to ensure a balanced, long-term transportation solution is passed by the state legislature this session. We will help everyone get started and provide a call script—and pizza! Returning volunteers and newcomers are welcome.
Move MN Transportation Rally featuring Governor Dayton
Thursday, April 16, 12-1 PM, State Capitol Lawn, Saint Paul
On April 16, TLC and our Move MN allies need you to join us for a massive transportation rally on the State Capitol lawn! Together we will call on legislators to fund all modes statewide before the 2015 session ends in May. The event will feature Governor Dayton and other leaders. Don’t miss it!