TRANSPORTATION FORWARD COALITION CALLS FOR FULL FUNDING

March 2 St. Paul News Event Calls on Legislature to Fund Minnesota’s Transportation Needs Now

For Immediate Release
Contact: Robb Leer 612.701.0608

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St. Paul, Minnesota (March 1, 2016) –Twin Cities civic leaders and a new statewide transportation coalition will hold a press conference March 2 at 10:30 a.m. at the State Office Building to urge the Minnesota Legislature to increase statewide funding for all transportation modes.

The new coalition, Transportation Forward, is calling for the Legislature to fund a 21st-century transportation system that improves mobility, economic health, and quality of life in the Twin Cities region and in communities across Minnesota.

WHO: Minneapolis Sen. Scott Dibble; North Mankato Rep. Clark Johnson; Ramsey County Commissioner Rafael Ortega; Edina-based New American Academy Executive Director Asad Aliweyd; Saint Cloud Metro Bus Executive Director Ryan Daniel; Saint Cloud-based CentraCare Health Foundation Director of Wellness Jodi Gertken; Transportation Forward Chair Dave Van Hattum.

WHERE: State Office Building, 100 Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Blvd., Main floor press conference room 181, Saint Paul

WHEN: March 2, 10:30 a.m.

In February, Transportation Forward held press conferences and gained support of civic leaders in Duluth, Rochester, St. Cloud and Bemidji. “We heard a universal message from local leaders across the state that there is a need for increased funding for all modes of transportation,” said Transportation Forward’s chair Dave Van Hattum.

“In Greater Minnesota, in the suburbs, and in the Twin Cities, families are faced with limited transportation options and aging roads,” he continued. “Communities large and small need reliable bus service, bridges in good repair, and more walking and bicycling options. It’s time for the

Legislature to invest in transportation that meets the needs of all Minnesotans, that supports our economies and expands access to jobs and opportunity.”

Duluth’s new mayor, Emily Larson, called for improved transportation funding. “Duluth is one of Minnesota’s largest cities and the demands on our transportation system only continue to grow,” she said. “Our local investments in biking and walking routes have made us a national leader that attracts visitors and families year round. But the cost of maintaining and expanding our public transportation options and repairing our roads and bridges continues to grow. With a budget surplus in place, now is the time for the state to pass a long-term transportation package for communities across the state.”

In St. Cloud the message was no different. “The Minnesota Legislature needs to pass a comprehensive funding package designed to repair and modernize the state’s transportation system—a package that includes funding for pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure for communities throughout central Minnesota,” said CentraCare Health Foundation’s Jodi Gertken, director of wellness. “More and more St. Cloud-area residents of all ages are walking and biking for their health and as a means of getting around. That benefits all of us and we need to make sure they have a transportation system that helps keep them safe.”

In the metro region, only 15 percent of jobs are well-served by transit, and unfunded plans for bus service expansion and new transitways depend on legislative action. Roads and bridges have significant deferred maintenance needs. People of all ages and abilities deserve safe options for walking and bicycling.

For Minnesota communities of all sizes to succeed and address urgent transportation problems, funding is critical. Currently state financing is not keeping up with a growing population or with rising construction costs, leading to billions in budget gaps, crumbling infrastructure, and an inability to expand affordable, accessible transportation choices.

**Attention local radio/TV and newspaper assignment editors:

Local Transportation newsmakers are available to be booked for interviews, including early morning shows, regarding this Transportation Forward tour stop in Saint Paul. To make coordinating and scheduling easy and hassle free, contact media liaison Robb Leer at 612.701.0608 or robbl@leercommunication.com.

About Us

Transportation Forward is a statewide campaign of more than 50 organizations dedicated to building broad support for new investments in all modes of transportation in Minnesota, in the belief that transportation underpins quality of life, the way our communities function, access to economic opportunity, and the health of our residents and the environment. For more information, visit www.transportationforwardmn.org.

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