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Transit Vision Bill Introduced

02/28/2013

Statewide Poll and Transit for a Stronger Economy Coalition
Support Investments in Transit, Bicycling, Walking, and ADA Compliance

St. Paul, Minn. (Feb. 28, 2013)—A bill introduced today calls for increased funding for transit in the metro and greater Minnesota. The bill (HF 1044 and SF 927), authored by Senator Bobby Joe Champion and Representative Melissa Hortman, calls for an additional $300 million per year in the metro and $32 million in Greater Minnesota to meet demand for transit and for safe, accessible connections for people walking, bicycling, or using wheelchairs.

Co-authors of the bill in the Senate include Senators Scott Dibble (DFL,  61), Chuck Wiger (DFL, 43), John Pederson (R, 14) , and Chris A. Eaton (DFL, 40). Co-authors in the House include Representatives Frank Hornstein (DFL, 61A),  Zachary Dorholt (DFL, 14B),  Sandra Masin (DFL 51A), Leon Lillie (DFL, 43B),  Raymond Dehn (DFL, 59B), Paul Rosenthal (DFL, 49B), Jason Metsa (DFL, 06B), Ron Erhardt (DFL, 49A).

“We need a transit system that allows all our region’s residents to thrive,” said Senator Bobby Joe Champion, chief author of the bill in the Senate. “This bill would dramatically increase access to jobs for low income people and make it more affordable to get to work. Transportation is the second largest household expense. It costs more than health care or education. Existing transit riders need better transit options and our region needs this to compete.”

Representative Melissa Hortman, chief author of the bill in the House, said, "Across the state, people want more options and support investment in public transportation. And they want bicycling and walking to be part of that investment. This bill is an opportunity to solve problems for Minnesotans, creating a more competitive, healthier state. "

Poll: statewide support for investments in transit, bicycling, and walking.

A statewide poll conducted in January by the bipartisan team of Fairbanks, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (D) and Public Opinion Strategies (R) shows public transportation is broadly supported and that a majority favor including bicycle and pedestrian projects in transportation funding proposals.

  • More than 90% surveyed agree that public transportation is a good investment for the state.
  • Over two-thirds (67 69%) of those surveyed favor including bicycle and pedestrian funding in transportation proposals.
  • A majority support paying more in taxes to expand and improve public transportation.
  • The top reasons for supporting transit focus on creating jobs, reducing traffic congestion, and making sure transit options are available to all.

Transit for a Stronger Economy Coalition

Transit for a Stronger Economy includes more than 40 organizations from across the state and unites unions, developers, people with disabilities, low-income and underserved communities, and active transportation, health, and environmental interests to promote funding for transit expansion this legislative session. The coalition’s vision for the Twin Cities metro region includes expanding transit, including bus and rail, and funding bicycle and walking projects, and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance. The coalition also calls for meeting transit demand in Greater Minnesota.

“This coalition recognizes the great need to provide safe, accessible connections to transit. Transit, bicycling, and walking add much-needed activity to the daily commute, making our communities healthier,” said Rachel Callanan of the American Heart Association.

"We must make smart investments in transit to create good jobs and address climate change," said David Foster, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance. "We're proud to support this effort to sustain and improve transit options in our state."

Developer Colleen Carey of The Cornerstone Group has worked on new projects all over the metro area. “Transit is a win for all of us,” she said. “It is good for the environment, good for our health, creates new jobs, improves the long-term economic competitiveness of our region AND supports the needs of our lower income households at the same time.  We can't afford NOT to invest in transit.  The Cornerstone Group strongly supports the vision of the Transit for a Stronger Economy coalition.”

There will be hearings on the bill in House and Senate in March. For more about the Transit for a Stronger Economy coalition,, including a list of members, visit www.transit4mn.org.

Updated 3-18-13.

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Comments

This is a nice bill. Kudos to the lawmakers for bringing this up.

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