By Hilary Reeves, Communications Director
The Move MN campaign is taking off. The web site (www.movemn.org) launched in early January. The following week several organizations (including TLC) co-hosted a forum focused on transportation, jobs, and equity (read about the forum here and here—and watch a short video here). Around the state, people and organizations interested in transportation got together at Move MN meetings in Rochester, St. Cloud, Willmar, Duluth, and Mankato. And this week, the campaign officially kicked off with a press conference at the Capitol.
TLC’s Barb Thoman at January 23 launch of Move MN. (Photo courtesy of Move MN.)
Multimodal in scope—transit, roads, bridges, bicycling and walking—and statewide in its reach, Move MN brings together more than 130 organizations, including members of the Transit for a Stronger Economy coalition that pushed for increased transportation funding in 2013.
Why do we need to fix transportation this session?
- the high cost of transportation—getting around—for working families
- aging infrastructure
- our environment
- public health and active transportation
In 2008, after the I-35W bridge collapse, the legislature over-rode Governor Pawlenty’s veto to pass new funding to repair bridges and roads and put some money toward transit. Those funds have made a difference. They allowed MnDOT to address the worst bridges. They funded the Red Line BRT in the south metro and the soon to open Green Line LRT between Saint Paul and Minneapolis and continue to fund operating costs for transitways. Statewide, there is some level of transit service in all but one county. But, the funds only go that far.
The calendar has been full lately with opportunities for feedback about transportation projects: Southwest LRT alignment, Gateway corridor plans, Midtown corridor alternatives, Metro Transit’s Service Improvement Plan for local and express bus service, Saint Paul bike plan, MnDOT statewide bike plan, federal bike/ped funds under Transportation Alternatives, and more.
The bottom line is that if we don’t go forward, we will go backward on transportation.
If you like the progress the Twin Cities is making on transit but want more bus service and the kinds of LRT, BRT, or streetcar routes you’ve seen in other cities, please let your elected officials know.
If you like communities where it’s possible to ride your bicycle or walk to get places—and for kids to get to school on foot or bicycle—it’s time to call for funding for more bike routes and safer sidewalks in communities across the state.
If you wonder why the same piece of road gets potholes every few years or wonder about the safety of the state’s bridges, make sure funds exist to do routine maintenance and complete rebuilds when necessary.
In New Jersey political payback comes through deliberate closure of lanes on a bridge, stopping everything from school buses to ambulances to trucks. In Minnesota let’s demonstrate a different kind of transportation politics—the kind that moves us where we need to go.
How can you be involved? Take a transportation resolution to your precinct caucus on February 4! Talk to your neighbors. Call your elected officials. Get in touch with Cailin at TLC (firstname.lastname@example.org) to find out what is coming up with Move MN.
# # #