February 18 Event Calls On Legislature To Fully Fund Minnesota’s Transportation Needs Now

For Immediate Release
Contact: Robb Leer 612.701.0608

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Bemidji, Minnesota (February 11, 2016) — Led by Bemidji Mayor Rita Albrecht, local leaders will convene at City Hall to urge the Minnesota Legislature to increase statewide funding for all transportation modes to connect communities and ensure residents and businesses have safe, efficient options for getting where they need to go.

A new statewide coalition, Transportation Forward, will hold a media event calling for the Legislature to fund a 21st-century transportation system that improves mobility, economic health, and quality of life in Bemidji and in communities across Minnesota.

WHO: Transportation Forward speakers include Bemidji Mayor Rita Albrecht; Hibbing Mayor and Laborers Union Local 1097 Member Rick Cannata; Paul Bunyan Transit Operations Manager LuAnn Bleiler

WHERE: Bemidji City Hall Chambers

WHEN: Feb. 18, 6 p.m.

“As a regional center, Bemidji faces significant challenges in paying for our transportation needs,” Albrecht. “This session, with a significant budget surplus on the bottom line, we need our lawmakers to step up and pass a long term transportation package that supports all modes–from biking trails and city buses to repairing our local roads and bridges.”

Bemidji and Hibbing government leaders and a health care expert will speak about the importance of better roads, improved transit, expanded bicycling and walking options. Transportation is important in a city that is home to a major Minnesota State University campus and boasts a large tourism economy.

Transportation Forward’s chair Dave Van Hattum said the coalition chose Bemidji to remind legislators and residents that transportation is a statewide issue. “In many cases families in Greater Minnesota are faced with limited transportation options and aging roads,” he said. “They need reliable bus service, bridges in good repair, and more walking and bicycling options.”

To ensure Minnesota communities of all sizes can succeed and address these transportation problems, funding is critical. Current funding 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 Bemidji. To make coordinating and scheduling easy and hassle free, contact media liaison Robb Leer at 612.701.0608 or

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 go to