By Cailin Rogers, Campaign Organizer
TLC's Executive Director Barb Thoman co-presented the Move MN funding proposal to House & Senate Transportation Committee members and a packed hearing room at the Capitol on Feb. 18. (Credit: TLC)
The Move MN campaign made huge strides the past few weeks as coalition members prepared for the start of the legislative session on February 25. The room was packed for a joint hearing with the House and Senate Transportation Committees earlier this month as elected officials, community representatives, and both local and national transportation experts testified on Minnesota’s need for comprehensive transportation funding this session. A second hearing, in the State Capitol, brought out even more supporters of the Move MN coalition as the group unveiled its funding package and more Minnesotans from across the state testified about urgent transportation needs in their area.
The push for comprehensive transportation funding is a major focus of TLC’s 2014 legislative agenda. And it was a focus at our member meeting earlier this month. At the event, members also heard about our new Transportation Options program and other exciting initiatives—including plans for the Green Line grand opening on June 14. Following updates from staff and questions from members, we shifted into break-out groups to write letters and sign postcards to legislators, and to practice talking with elected officials and others about the significant needs and benefits of investing in transit, bicycling, and walking in 2014. Members also shared topic ideas for this year’s Transportation on Tap series and other informative TLC events, and had a fun time making their own pedal-powered bike smoothies. Throughout the evening, TLC snapped some great pictures of folks with their favorite modes of transportation. Thanks to everyone who could join us—we enjoyed connecting with all of you! The conversations between members and staff showed that TLC’s work and Move MN continue to progress in the right direction to support safe, accessible transportation options around the state.
See more photos from our February member meeting on the TLC Facebook page. (Credit: Allison Osberg, TLC.)
Just yesterday, Transportation Committee Chairs Sen. Scott Dibble and Rep. Frank Hornstein introduced transportation funding bills SF2107 & HF2395, respectively. They include a seven-county-metro sales tax for transit, bicycling, and walking; a gross-receipts gas tax for roads and bridges statewide; trunk highway bonds to get these projects moving (and people to work) more quickly; closing the loophole for sales tax on leased vehicles to expand transit in Greater Minnesota; and new federal money for bike/ped improvements in Greater Minnesota. Watch for a bill summary with more details next week.
"One of the fastest and best ways to create good jobs is by investing in our infrastructure."
President Obama speaking at Saint Paul Union Depot this week
The news coverage of Move MN has gained steam as well. From more than 70 counties and over 300 townships signing onto the campaign to a discussion of Move MN’s objectives in the media, expect to see even more coverage on Move MN and our state’s need for transportation funding legislation in the coming weeks. As the conversation gets flowing, we can use your voice in the mix! You can get involved in several ways:
- Participate in Move MN’s biggest upcoming event: Move MN Transportation Day and Rally at the Capitol on March 13. Come meet with your legislator to advocate for transportation funding and stay for a rally in the rotunda at the Capitol. Join us at nearby Christ Lutheran Church between 1:00 and 3:30 PM for an advocate workshop that includes legislator meeting training, sign making, and a question/answer session about Move MN. Before 4:00 PM, we will march over the Capitol for a rally in the rotunda to show support for comprehensive transportation funding this session. RSVP here to let us know if you can make it!
- Meet with your legislator. Meet with your legislators to talk with them about why you support transportation funding for all modes and why passing the bill described above is essential this legislative session. We’re happy to help you schedule and prepare for the meeting. Just contact us to let us know you’re interested.
- Join us for phone banking. We need to get the word about Move MN to our supporters and ways that they can help this session! Come phone bank every other Thursday from 6:00-8:30 PM at the Sierra Club office in Minneapolis. We’ll feed you! The next phone bank is Monday, March 10. RSVP here to join.
- Sign a Letter to the Editor. Legislators listen to their constituents in a variety of ways! Telling them directly about your concerns is vital, but swaying other people who live in your area is important too! Please sign up here if you would be willing to sign a Letter to the Editor. We can help with facts and figures and draft letters you can make your own.
- Attend a Tele-Town Hall. In early March, we will host a virtual town hall meeting with people from your area of Minnesota. You can listen, ask questions, and contact your legislator—all from your living room! If you want to participate, RSVP here and we’ll make sure you get a call.