Transportation planning the topic in St. Paul

Transportation officials, policy wonks and business leaders held a roundtable Monday in downtown St Paul to highlight their visions for improving the state's transportation system. They say Minnesota needs to expand and preserve existing roads and transit network to make it easier for local businesses to attract workers. They also say the state will have to find new ways to finance transportation projects, as federal and state dollars dwindle.

Margaret Donahoe, executive director of the Minnesota Transportation Alliance, says the Congressional Budget Office estimates that every dollar invested in infrastructure generates $1.60 in new economic growth. And transportation improvements will also create much needed construction jobs in the state.

"They are the kind of jobs that generate a multiplier effect in local economies," she said. "And at the same time we are building the infrastructure that other general businesses need to move products, to move people, to do what they do they have to have that transportation infrastructure."

Donahoe's group estimates that deficient surface transportation infrastructure cost the nation's businesses nearly $125 billion last year. Their numbers find deficient infrastructure could cost the country nearly $3 trillion by 2040.

Here is the Minnesota Department of Transportation's GO 50-Year Vision for Transportation, another long-term transportation strategy that aims to offer more ways to get around more quickly in the Land of Lakes.

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