Saturday, September 29, 2007

Back in My Element

This week I attended a Transportation field hearing at the Anoka County Court House. I was asked to attend and prepare testimony before the committee by Transit for Liveable Communities. I was impressed with the large turnout and the number of proffessionals working on transportation in the Northwest Metro who provided some great testimony on the state of our infrastructure, systems and sources of funding road and transit improvements, and where improvements need to be made.

Here is the statement that I prepared, and for time constraints limited to two paragraphs:

Transportation hearing Anoka County

I am a resident of Brooklyn Park – like most of the residents of the Northwestern suburbs I work in Minneapolis. Sometimes I drive and sometimes I take the 766 Metro Transit bus from the Noble Park and Ride. Either mode, it takes me an average of 45 minutes to an hour to travel 15 miles.

We need improvements in both roads and transit to reduce travel times, improve efficiency, and ensure the safety of our transportation system.

Better roads and transit will require setting priorities and finding revenue sources. In the Northwest Metro we now await the day that the Northstar Commuter rail line stops in our communities and eases many of our commutes. This is a major victory for transportation in Minnesota and the Northwest Suburbs. However, there is still more to be done. The completion of Highway 610, fixing the Devil’s Triangle (Intersection of 85th Ave, Highway 169, and CR-81), and the establishment of a dedicated transitway in the form of Bus Rapid Transit or Light Rail Transit for CR-81. And we need an improved North South road, a 252 without stoplights or an improved highway 10. We should push to keep these projects a priority in Minnesota.

To help keep these projects a priority, reliable sources of funding will be required in addition to the MVST amendment. A gas tax increase would help fund roads and brides (as constitutionally stated) while a regional sales tax could possibly be levied for transit improvements as has been successfully demonstrated in other similar sized Metropolitan Areas.

The issue of transportation affects everyone in Minnesota. We need Bipartisan efforts based on reality and a comprehensive vision for the future.

Before my Testimony, a representative from Ramsey stated that more leadership was needed from the committee. Representative Hortmann (DFL 47B my District) responded that the DFL majority and the committee are willing to negotiate and compromise, however, the Governor has to participate as well.

In the beginning of my testimony I thanked the committee for their hard work and leadership and stated that we have great leadership and representation from the local and county levels in state government and that the State is lacking in its leadership, that the real person who should be at these field hearings is Governor Pot-Hole Pawlenty himself.

It felt good to be surrounded with citizens and proffessionals who are passionate and concerned about the future of our state and region in regards to transportation and the affect it has on quality of life and economic and social vitality for the Midwest.

Since graduating from College in the Spring and looking and finding employment I haven't been able to enjoy reading up and emmersing myself in Transportation, particullary HSR. I have been continueing to follow the CA HSR plans and press releases. Although, one can argue that more exciting things are happening here with State government and the DFL's calling for the removal of Carole Molnaue as the head of MNDOT; it will be interesting to see how this is resolved.

Gophers play Ohio State this evenning, we will see if the weather holds. Right now, Purdue is kicking the snot out of Norte Dame 23-0 at the half. Gophers will more than likely get slaughtered, but it still should be a fun (if not infuriating) game to watch. Been meaning to write about the new job, and I think I will try and get some pictures of our store and talk about my posiition and the awesome new truck we recieved last week.

Until next post,