The transportation system touches all of our lives on a daily basis. Unfortunately, we have underinvested in every aspect of the system — roads, bridges, transit, biking, and walking infrastructure- for far too long.
As the transportation funding conversation has been reinvigorated since Governor Walz’s win, it has revolved almost exclusively around the gas tax, which is constitutionally dedicated to roads and bridges. We must not forget that our transportation system is multidimensional and multimodal. We need to explore all the funding mechanisms that interact with the system to create sound policy and programs.
We also can’t have a funding conversation without including transit, bike infrastructure, and pedestrian access. In a 2017 statewide poll, it was reported that 68 percent of Minnesotans support investments in safe bike and pedestrian routes. Another statewide poll from 2018 found that nearly three in four Minnesotans support investments in transit options, even if they have higher fares or taxes.
This goes to show that transit and safe bike routes are not only metro issues. While these options may look different in Greater MN, the need is evident. Our legislators need to get over the Greater MN vs Metro politics and invest in the future of our state including our small towns and regional centers.
Minnesotans need and want investments in our transportation system. It is our hope that legislators will reach an agreement with Governor Walz this session that we need real, stable funding solutions for all the modes of our transportation system, not just roads and bridges. Let’s put politics aside and have a meaningful discussion.
Chair, Pedal Fergus Falls
Transit Director, Productive Alternatives