A coalition of civic and business leaders is calling for huge new investments in Minnesota's transportation infrastructure. Working under the name Move MN, the group describes as "crucial" its goal that "the Minnesota Legislature pass a comprehensive transportation funding package in 2014 that requires additional transparency and efficiency for current resources and provides long-term sustainable funding for roads, bridges, transit, and bike and walk connections."
Indications from the Legislature and the governor's office, however, make the prospect appear doubtful.
What's at stake in Minnesota's transportation funding debate? Margaret Donohoe, executive director of the Minnesota Transportation Alliance, put it this way in a recent Star Tribune op-ed:
Only 10 percent of jobs in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area are conveniently served by transit. Almost 2.5 million commuters drive across a structurally deficient bridge in Minnesota every day. Nearly half of our roads and bridges are 50 years or older — past their design lives.
We all have a stake in the quality of Minnesota's transportation system, because we all rely on it every day to live our lives. When the system isn't improved, people can be killed. Every year, hundreds of people die and are seriously injured for life in traffic crashes.
The Daily Circuit talks with Donohoe and legislative leaders to get their views of Minnesota's transportation needs and the response we're likely to see from the coming session.