Posted: 05/02/16 13:26, Edited: 05/02/16 13:43
by Dave Mindeman
We are going to look back on this period...this legislative period...and wonder what the hell we were thinking?
We have infrastructure problems, maintenance problems, carbon emission problems...problems, problems, problems.
And we are not addressing them.
This is a representative democracy which means we count on those we elect to take care of the day to day needs of how the state operates. We do not elect them to do what we wish them to do, we elect them to do what we need them to do.
That is why this transportation conundrum is so frustrating. We need our elected representatives to find out what is needed, how best to meet that need, and THEN JUST DO IT!
And that brings us to transit. Southwest Light Rail has things to work out, no question. But nobody thinks that we should abandon the whole thing. The commuters want it, the cities involved want it, the state needs it.
We have been fooling around with getting the metropolitan area into a full multi-modal system for decades. Constant delays. Arguments about funding. Arguments about process. It is ridiculous.
Seniors are looking to a future where they are not dependent on cars. Students need it to expand their school choices. Commuters need it for a reliable method to get to work. Employers need it to expand their markets.
Seven Minnesota Senators have taken a stand to withhold their bonding bill vote unless the state portion of SWLRT funding is included.
The DFLers who support this effort are state Sens. Ron Latz of St. Louis Park, Melisa Franzen of Edina, John Hoffman of Champlin, Jim Carlson of Eagan, Chris Eaton of Brooklyn Park, Kathy Sheran of Mankato and Barb Goodwin of Columbia Heights.
Transportation heroes as far as I am concerned.
And they are not fighting simply for $135 million in money to contribute to the SWLRT effort...they are also fighting for the $895 million in Federal money that we would get for doing that. Money that goes somewhere else if we do not contribute our share. (And the deadline is NOW.) That is a pretty good leverage by anyone's standards. A 6 to 1 return on investment.
And yet, we have not done it. And the House Republicans don't intend to do it.
The House Republicans have stood in the way of our transportation future far too long. If they are going to stand in the way then let's get them out of the way.
This is just too damn important.