Minnesotans for Light Rail Transit

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Light Rail Summary: Construction of the Hiawatha Corridor LRT Line is now underway and is expected to be complete during 2004, with initial service planned for Fall 2004. Despite previous commitment from the state to fund annual operating costs, Governor Tim Pawlenty's new budget cuts that commitment by 60%. In addition to Hiawatha, there are now grassroots efforts to complete final studies and get citizen feedback on both the Southwest Corridor and University Corridor future LRT lines. Some legislative efforts in the Minnesota House of Representatives would put a gag order on further studies (so much for local citizen input and local control). Finally, despite overwhelming public support, the Pawlenty Administration continues to give the cold shoulder to the proposed Northstar Corridor commuter rail line. Apparently Highways R Us and Back to the 50s are the Pawlenty Administration's transportation and "transit" themes for the next few years.

MnLRT urges Governor Pawlenty, MnDOT Commissioner Carol Molnau, the Minnesota House and the Minnesota Senate to come together and subit a transportation finance package that will provide the long term mobility and economic balance that all Minnesotans expect. This funding package should include funding for repairs of highway bottle necks in both the Metro Area and Outstate Minnesota, full funding for the operating costs of the Hiawatha Corridor LRT line, funding for completion of engineering studies on the Southwest Corridor and University Corridors, funding for construction of the Northstar Corridor and adequate funding for Metro Transit.

Check out the latest information right from the sources:


April 2003
Governor Pawlenty's Credit Card Transportation Policy ... More Traffic Jams, More Pollution, More Oil Dependence

Under a truly baffling plan by the new Administration of Governor Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota will spend $1.0 to $1.2 Billion on "transportation" projects, mainly more and wider highways. The plan reduces the State's previously committed contribution to the Hiawatha LRT line operating costs by a whopping 60%, while increasing spending on far-flung suburban freeways and interstates. According to the Administration's propaganda, "The plan addresses how to increase mobility and reduce highway congestion through the use of bonding, leveraging federal highway funds and providing mechanisms for cities and counties to fund transit and road projects." Governor Pawlenty and Lt. Governor Molnau have, for years, blindly claimed that more and wider highways will increase mobility and reduce congestion -- without any measurement or evidence. In fact, in a growing Metro Area, those assertions are at best patently false and at worst are outright misleading. There is no proof that a highways-only transportation policy will reduce congestion. In fact, a growing body of evidence clearly shows that more and wider highways increase congestion, reduce mobility, increase pollution and destroy the integrity of the neighborhoods through whcih they pass. Pollution from motor vehicles has been linked to various cancers, asthma and other respiratory diseases. And in Minneapolis and St. Paul alone, well in excess of 10,000 private homes and businesses have been removed over the years to make way for 35W, 94 and 394. Taxpayers have spent well over $800 million on 394 -- and congestion in the western suburbs gets worse every year.

MnLRT urges Governor Pawlenty and Lt. Governor Molnau to reconsider this highly unbalanced and disastrous transportation plan. Minnesota taxpayers deserve to be told the truth -- that only a balanced transportation system, which includes clean and efficient highways, an extensive bus system, commuter rail and light rail, will give Minnesota taxpayers the cost-effective and sustainable transportation system we expect. Payback for election campaign funding is not part of that expectation.

For more detail on Pawlenty's transportation finance package see http://www.dot.state.mn.us/financing/ .

Contact the Governor and tell him that you would like to see a transportation plan that reflects the local needs of all Minnesotans, not just the privileged few.

Mailing Address: Office of the Governor -- http://www.governor.state.mn.us/
130 State Capitol
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155
Telephone: (651) 296-3391 , (800) 657-3717
Facsimile: (651) 296-2089
E-mail: tim.pawlenty@state.mn.us

Light Rail on the Southwest Corridor! 71% Support Light Rail on Corridor
According to a recent study sponsored by Hennepin County 71% of residents surveyed in the study, which included respondents from Eden Prairie, Hopkins, Minnetonka, St. Louis Park and Minneapolis, supported Light Rail as the preferred transit option along the southwest corridor. The proposed Southwest Corridor, which runs between Eden Prairie on the southwest and Minneapolis on the northeast of the route, is being studied by the County for prospects for LRT. The County expects to complete the study by March or April 2003. For more information visit Hennepin County's web site at http://www.co.hennepin.mn.us/tcw/southwest/swhome.htm

Status of Northstar Corridor Commuter Rail Line
A bipartisan coalition of Minnesota House State Representatives has just introduced legislation that would State funding for construction of the Northstar Corridor Commuter Rail Line. HF-1233, authored by State Representative Kathy Tinglestad of Andover, would open up $123 million worth of funding for construction of the commuter rail line between St. Cloud and Minneapolis.

Key facts about Northstar:
Description : The Northstar Corridor, an 82-mile stretch along highways 10 and 47 from St. Cloud to Minneapolis, is the fastest growing area in Minnesota. The NCDA is a joint powers board of 30 counties, cities, townships and regional railroad authorities along the corridor. For more information about the Northstar Corridor commuter rail project, please visit the NCDA web site at www.mn-GetOnBoard.com or http://www.northstartrain.org/.

Cost : $302 million
Usage : 5,000 people making 10,000 trips per day ; 3 million trips per year
Annual operating cost : $15 million

Backstabbing LRT at the Capitol
In an unfortunate attempt to stifle taxpayer input and local control, State Representative Peter Adolphson (Republican-43A), who represents parts of Minnetonka and Eden Prairie, has introduced legislation that would "prohibit the study, planning, engineering or final design of a light-rail transit line", one of the two options being considered. Hennepin Country Commissioner Gail Dorfman commented, "For one legislator to come in and try to move the study is an end run on democracy."

Peter Adolphson (R) 42A
597 State Office Building
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155
(651) 296-3964

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Special thanks to Transit for Livable Communites, a non-partisan, grass-roots transportation advocacy group, whose objectives are to communicate critical transportation decision-making information to the Minnesota public.

Our Privacy Statement: Minnesotans for Light Rail Transit and TLC will never, ever, under any circumstaces sell, distribute, or disclose the names and/or email addresses and/or the written/verbal conversations of individuals that contact us. All contact between individuals and MnLRT/TLC will remain strictly private under the laws of the State of Minnesota and in compliance with all laws in the United States of America.

For further information contact:

Minnesotans for Light Rail Transit
email: mailto:mnlrt@oocities.com

Transit for Livable Communities
email: barbt@spnec.org

tel: 651-767-0298

P.O. Box 14221

St. Paul, MN 55114-1221

This is the experimental site under development for Minnesotans for Light Rail Transit and Transit for Livable Communities. Once the site gets closer to completion it will be moved to a more prominent and permanent location.

Last updated: April 2003

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