What We’re Fighting for This Legislative Session
January 31 marked the first day of what is sure to be a fast-paced and jam-packed legislative session at the Minnesota House and Senate. Legislators have returned to Saint Paul to deliberate on a wide range of issues. To serve our communities, protect our climate, and leverage a significant influx of new federal dollars coming to Minnesota, the time is now for state leaders to invest in transit, biking, walking, and rolling!
One way in which legislators and the Governor can invest in transit and active transportation this year is through bonding—a form of low-interest borrowing to finance infrastructure projects. Move Minnesota, along with our Transportation Forward partners, will be advocating for bonding dollars to fund new bus rapid transit lines, safe biking, walking and rolling routes for all, and improvements to transit facilities in Greater Minnesota.
Our 2022 Legislative Priorities
Funding for Urgent Projects
Move Minnesota and allies are calling for $208 million in strategic capital investments to ensure urgent transit, bicycling, walking, projects have the resources they need to move forward. We urge state leaders to:
- Advance equity and climate goals as an overarching theme, in addition to economic development and job creation.
- Support $100 million for arterial bus rapid transit in the metro—to finish the work started on the F Line, begin and complete construction on the G Line, and to plan and engineer for additional lines that finally move the region beyond a smattering of routes to a connected system.
- Support $5 million for transit facilities in Greater Minnesota.
- Support $12 million for active transportation across the state ($10 million in bonds, $2 million in cash).
- Support $5 million for statewide Safe Routes to School.
- Support $86 million for passenger rail service connecting the Twin Cities and Duluth.
Move Minnesota also will continue our push to create a supportive transit ambassadors program and decriminalize fare nonpayment. State policy currently stands in the way, but with change we can make our transit systems more just and welcoming for people of every race and income. Learn more.
Issues to Watch
While Move Minnesota supporters and advocates will be hard at work fighting for transit, biking, walking, and rolling investments, there will be other major deliberations and happenings going on at the Capitol, as well:
- There’s a $7.7 billion dollar projected budget surplus—an unprecedented amount of available funding for legislators and the Governor to decide how to spend… or not. The House, Senate, and Governor’s office have already announced early plans for how they would like those dollars to be spent.
- Newly drawn legislative districts based on the latest census data were just released. This will shift the boundaries of the areas legislators represent—potentially pitting incumbents against each other in the November elections.
The Big Picture
As we seek immediate action in 2022, we also build momentum toward our bigger vision for fast, frequent, and convenient public transit that will dramatically improve our daily lives and our futures in Minnesota. To achieve this, we need lawmakers to provide a minimum 10-year investment in busing, bicycling, walking, and rolling that matches the scale and urgency of the climate crisis and the needs facing our communities. This will be a major issue in 2023 so the next twelve months are a clear opportunity to build the champions we need to:
- Build out a fully connected Twin Cities bus rapid transit system
- Reduce wait time on core transit lines to just 5 minutes at rush hour
- Expand suburban express service hours to all day
- Expand highway bus rapid transit in our metro
- Operate excellent local bus service
- Eliminate transit fares
- Electrify the bus system
- Improve bicycling and walking connections
It is so important for transit supporters to make their voices heard at the State Capitol! Even lawmakers in favor of better bus service need a reminder that people care and want them to make transit a priority.
This year, our new Move Minnesota Action team will be taking the lead on mobilizing grassroots advocates through in-district meetings, online actions, phone banks, testimony, volunteer canvassing, and other action. Over the past month, Move Minnesota Action has already led virtual events and constituent meetings with Rep. Fue Lee, Sen. Scott Dibble, Sen. Ann Johnson Stewart, Rep. Emma Greenman, Rep. Mohamad Noor, Rep. Esther Agbaje, and Sen. Erin Murphy. Thanks to all! Move Minnesota Action’s next conversations are with Sen. Kari Dziedzic on February 23 and Sen. Patricia Torres Ray on March 1, with more to come.
Reach out to Finn at firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved!