Transportation Day at the State Capitol

Another big transportation event is happening this week in the Minnesota State Capitol. Sponsored and organized by Transit for Livable Communities and Move MN, Thursday, February 12 is Transportation Day of Action.

The main event of the day will be a march from the National Guard Armory (600 Cedar Street) to the State Capitol. Supporters can gather at 2:00 PM, where Lt. Governor Tina Smith, Sen. Scott Dibble, and other leaders will be present to share updates and an outline of transportation plans for the session. At 3:30 PM, the march will begin, as activists deliver 10,000 collected postcards to our state lawmakers. These postcards are intended to “remind [our lawmakers] that Minnesotans support long-term investment in all modes statewide.”

Move MN and TLC will also be helping to arrange meetings with your state Senator or Representative between 9:00 AM and 2:00 PM if you register through the event website. Check the “legislator meeting option” if you’re interested.

Related activities from the TLC event website:

  • Green Line Action Train, 9 AM, Raymond Ave. Station. Hop on the Green Line with TLC staff and allies and show your support for transit funding on the way to the Armory.
  • Transit Press Conference, 9:30 AM, near Capitol/Rice St. Station. Transit riders from the metro and Greater Minnesota will speak up for more investments in bus and rail. Attend to show your support.
  • Advocate Trainings, 9-11:30 AM, Minnesota Armory. A quick training from Move MN staff will help you prepare to meet with your legislators. Get your transportation funding questions answered and connect with other advocates. Move MN materials and refreshments will be provided.
  • Informal Lunch, 11:30-1:30 PM, MnDOT Cafeteria. Eat and network with TLC and Move MN supporters. Brown-bag or purchase your meal in the Transportation Building cafeteria on State Capitol grounds. Move MN buttons and materials will be available.

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15 Responses to Transportation Day at the State Capitol

  1. jeffk February 10, 2015 at 8:22 pm #

    I gotta say that Chuck Marohn and the Strong Towns crew have made me a little hesitant to get involved with Move MN. But I am not quite sure how to advocate that angle at this juncture.

  2. Matt Steele
    Matt Steele February 11, 2015 at 1:16 pm #

    Yeah, it’s good to finally see people in these progressive circles realizing they’ve been co-opted by the Infrastructure Cult for nefarious purposes. Seriously, why would you consider giving money or time to organizations which then turn around give resources to push a bill that’s mostly about subsidizing sprawl and encouraging more driving?

    Also, #nonewroads has gone decidedly mainstream in the last week or two. Yesterday on Vox: America’s roads are in disrepair. More money won’t always help. http://www.vox.com/2015/2/10/8012211/infrastructure-crumbling-more-spending

    I just fail to understand how anyone who is progressive, pro-bike, pro-transit, pro-environment, etc can seriously believe that putting more money into a system that’s produced such failed outcomes is a positive thing.

    • Adam Miller
      Adam Miller February 11, 2015 at 3:11 pm #

      Perhaps they think compromise is necessary to the political process?

      • jeffk February 11, 2015 at 3:59 pm #

        I think the message folks like Matt are pushing is while that’s true for some things, we’re pretty screwed unless we completely exit the axis along which we’re compromising. The $700M bridge to Sprawlville, WI, involved a handshake between Amy Klobuchar and Michelle Bachman.

        I’m just starting to this this compromise isn’t with it. I’m not convinced a dozen miles of bike lanes I may enjoy are worth a few billion dollars worth of clover-leaf interchanges in Cokato, MN or some such place, nor do I think that the people of those towns are benefiting from them. I’d be willing to compromise if I thought something useful was being done with the money on both ends.

        • Matt Steele February 11, 2015 at 4:59 pm #

          That’s where I’m at too. I honestly would love more bike/walk/transit money in my Minneapolis neighborhood. So much so that I’d make compromises so that others can get what they want. But that’s not the point. The system right now is so fundamentally flawed that, barring significant reform, more money necessarily means more negative outcomes.

          And let’s think about why we got into the pickle we’re currently in… it’s because we kept subsidizing sprawl with new roads, interchanges, and capacity expansions. At this point, expanding transit and bikeability across our region is sort of irrelevant, considering that the land use that we socially engineered into existence — auto-oriented mobility, an untested experiment — is completely incompatible with non-auto-oriented mobility.

          • Matty Lang
            Matty Lang February 12, 2015 at 8:16 am #

            So we should just throw in the towel and stop building transit all together? You’ll still get the new road expansion waste in that scenario, just without the scraps for transit and bicycle projects. I guess that makes sense if you want to speed up the race to the bottom and maximize the level of pain people feel from it.

            • Matt February 12, 2015 at 9:08 am #

              But even our transit dollars are funding the road waste… Look at the Red Line in Apple Valley (really a ploy to widen a stroad, increase intersection spacing, and install higher-tech stoplights) or the CTIB spending $10 million for an interchange on Hwy 10 in Ramsey (which creates absolutely zero benefit for transit).

              And look at the crap we have planned… LRT to corn fields, BRT to Lake Elmo, more park & rides. We literally flush our transit money away, except for maybe aBRT and the current two LRT lines we have.

              We’d do far better off figuring out how to create a sustainable value capture model and letting core cities and places with actual value build connections.

      • Alex Cecchini
        Alex Cecchini February 12, 2015 at 8:33 am #

        I mean, obviously, yes. I would think the DFL and GOP would both recognize the absurdity of how much compromise and ‘if their town/mode/etc gets X, then I need to get Y’ is involved in this whole thing. Senator Dibble really struggled to give a clear, convincing argument for why the metro needs to compromise and give something to outstate in order to tax *itself* for transit upgrades.

        I guess I feel misled by the rhetoric that this is a major transformation in how we do transportation within MN. It’s not – it’s just one of many increases to road spending and one of fewer increases to a slush fund that funds transit operations/expansion (not that I’m particularly opposed to that, but I do have questions about the investments we’re making).

        I predict that even with this increase, we’ll be having the same conversation in 5-10 years. Congestion is killing our commutes, roads are still in disrepair, we’ve found more repairs on the 10-15 year horizon that need funding, etc. We’re pumping 33% of the increase into capacity upgrades per Dayton’s info with this plan (assuming the new money doesn’t shift even more toward new construction via politics).

        Maybe that number, in relation to total current spend, isn’t so bad? I guess I don’t know for sure, but looking back over the last 20 years of how we do things, it sure seems like the politicians don’t know either (else we wouldn’t keep running into this problem). We’ve got GOP politicians trying to ban streetcars and VMT-payment research, no one is challenging the law prohibiting tolling existing highway capacity, etc. There is seemingly no creativity or willingness to challenge the status quo.

        • Matty Lang
          Matty Lang February 12, 2015 at 9:41 am #

          I can’t disagree with any of this. I’m not happy with the way things are done at the state level, but as you know, politics. That’s the only reason there is horse trading “compromise” taking place and it’s certainly absurd that it has to happen in order for anything even approaching positive to get passed.

          Want to get even more depressed with me? The sad reality is that there is seemingly no creativity or willingness to challenge the status quo because a super majority of members of both parties at the state Capitol don’t see any problem with the status quo and/or are unwilling to do the difficult work it takes to educate their constituents on this issue.

          Forget it, Jake. It’s land use and transportation politics in the early 21st century in Anywhere, USA. I’m going to continue to work at tilting at the windmills of helping people in the general public understand that things need to change so that people like Senator Dibble might have some more allies in Saint Paul.

        • Adam Miller
          Adam Miller February 12, 2015 at 10:07 am #

          “Senator Dibble really struggled to give a clear, convincing argument for why the metro needs to compromise and give something to outstate in order to tax *itself* for transit upgrades.”

          I don’t think there is an answer other than “the GOP controls both houses of the legislature.”

          • Alex Cecchini
            Alex Cecchini February 12, 2015 at 10:46 am #

            Well, the DFL controls the Senate (+ Gov). What was the excuse for outstate requiring something in return for the metro taxing itself in the previous legislative session (2013-2014) where the DFL had total control?

            • Matty Lang
              Matty Lang February 12, 2015 at 10:52 am #

              Many members of the outstate DFL will not support transit without getting some highway pork outstate in return. It’s not an excuse as much as a political reality. Sure, it makes no sense and is absurd as you have said.

              • Adam Miller
                Adam Miller February 12, 2015 at 12:02 pm #

                Right. I oversimplified.

              • Matt Steele
                Matt Steele February 12, 2015 at 12:50 pm #

                They could have allowed Hennepin and Ramsey (or maybe CWADS as well) to vote on additional revenue for transit. Self determination, self funding.

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