Here in Minnesota, another legislative session officially kicked off on February 11. For advocates like us, that brings a big opportunity to speak up for the more just, more joyful, and more sustainable future we know is possible.
Move Minnesota is a leading transportation advocate at the State Capitol each year. One of our top priorities is fighting for more investments in transit, bicycling, walking, and rolling throughout the metro region and the state. We are not alone in this effort! Our Transportation Forward coalition unites partners from across sectors and geographies because transportation impacts each and every one of us—and there are many, many reasons to fight for a better system.
Across the state, the quality of non-automobile transportation options has a major impact on whether Minnesotans can get to work and school, buy groceries, visit the doctor, and connect with friends and family—or whether those essentials are out of reach. That is because transit is too often abysmally slow or unreliable compared to car travel, and because walking and biking across the street can feel like a dangerous, high-stakes game of Frogger. These frustrating experiences push people into cars, a $9000+ per year expense that drains money from our communities and endangers the future of our planet.
This inadequate system compounds the inequalities communities of color, low-wealth communities, and people with disabilities experience every day. And with transportation now the top source of climate pollution in Minnesota and across the United States, bold transportation change is critical to solving the climate crisis we’re all facing.
WHAT WILL CREATE LASTING SOLUTIONS IN OUR URBAN, SUBURBAN & GREATER MN COMMUNITIES?
Increased investment in transit, bicycling, and walking is essential to connect communities, stabilize our climate, expand access to jobs and resources, and improve daily life for Minnesotans of all ages, races, incomes, and abilities. Thanks to inaction at the Capitol, these vital options are dramatically underfunded every year. That needs to stop. Lawmakers need to do their jobs to ensure our transportation systems actually serve all Minnesotans and protect our future.
One-time money isn’t enough. Reliable, long-term, dedicated funding is urgently needed to create an equitable and sustainable future. That’s why Move Minnesota and our Transportation Forward allies are advocating for:
- A 3/4-cent increase in the metro sales tax to fund more bus routes, more electric buses, and more frequent service – with 90% of total revenue dedicated to urban and suburban metro-area transit and 10% dedicated to improving bicycling and walking in the metro.
- $10 million per year in new, ongoing funding for Greater Minnesota transit.
- $15 million per year in new, ongoing funding for Greater Minnesota bicycling and walking.
HOW CAN MN LAWMAKERS ADVANCE SHOVEL-READY TRANSIT, WALKING & BIKING PROJECTS NOW?
Even though one-time funding won’t create the big, system-level changes we need, we also expect our elected officials to seize every opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives ASAP. Many Minnesota communities are long overdue for transit, bicycling, and walking improvements and there is no good reason to delay these vital projects another year. While people across the state continue struggling to get around, shovel-ready projects simply don’t have the resources they need to move forward. This year’s bonding bill can, and should, change that! In 2020, lawmakers have a clear opportunity to make immediate, meaningful progress through strategic capital investments. We’re asking them to champion:
- $75 million for arterial bus rapid transit in the metro. Bonding dollars are urgently needed this year to build the shovel-ready D Line and B Line, and to plan and engineer for additional lines that finally move the region beyond a smattering of routes to a connected arterial Bus Rapid Transit system.
- $15 million for transit facilities in Greater Minnesota.
- $10 million for suburban transit facilities.
- $10 million for statewide Safe Routes to School.
- $10 million in statewide electric bus and vehicle charging infrastructure.
In Minnesota, inadequate resources for transit, bicycling, and walking are holding us back from creating the system that will truly meet people’s needs. It’s a major problem—and one we’re committed to addressing head on. But advocating for funding is only one way Move Minnesota is working hard at the State Capitol to change the status quo. Click here to learn about our biggest 2020 policy change initiative this session.
We need your help to create change at the State Capitol in 2020! There are lots of different ways to make a difference and make your voice heard throughout the session. Contact community organizer Finn McGarrity at firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved as an advocate or volunteer. We’re at our most powerful when we rise up together.