Posted: 10/05/07 11:23
by Dave Mindeman
Transit for Livable Communities held a public forum on transportation last night in Apple Valley. There were about 75 to 80 people there including... 9 legislators (2 of them Republican), 1 mayor, 3 County Commissioners, and at least 1 DFL House challenger. The TVC gave a sobering presentation about resources needed vs. resources available. Their assessment states that the transportation bill that Governor Pawlenty vetoed last session, even if it had become law, would still not have met even half of the needed funds to keep up with required infrastructure.
Many people gave their opinions and a lot of good points were made. Some of them:
--MnDot continues to "borrow" money from the counties to get projects under way.
--Dakota County has no projects on the MnDOT calendar until 2030.
--54% of Dakota County residents commute to jobs outside the county.
--Minnesota residents use 43 hours of their lives each year, sitting in congested traffic.
--16% of current property tax levies in Dakota County goes to transportation needs.... and a Wheelage Tax has also been implemented.
-- When the Bridge went down, the Missouri legislature passed a state gas tax increase within a week, telling their state that what happened in Minnesota will never happen here.
It is incredible to watch Minnesota's transportation debacle get farther and farther behind in its investments. Pawlenty is not telling us the truth about transportation. He keeps pushing the big "fixes" into the future -- it will be somebody else's problem (no, make that somebody else's crisis).
I assumed that a bridge falling down and 13 people dead in the Mississippi would be a wake up call to this state.... but it wasn't. The slow budgetary strangulation continues and the administration continues to misinform, obfuscate, and delay... to the detriment of this state.
DFL legislators voiced their concerns and sometimes their anger about the situation -- after all they have supported bipartisan bills that have passed, only to see the veto pen wipe out all the hard work. The two Republican legislators sympathized with the transportation plight, but offered no real support and no alternatives to fix the problem.
Where is this going? It is very discouraging. "Roadblock" Pawlenty continues to be this state's biggest traffic problem.