To the editor:
This past session of the Minnesota Legislature will be remembered for its bipartisanship.
In a time of growing partisan divides in Minnesota and elsewhere, that’s a good thing that should be applauded by everyone. Unfortunately, the session will also be remembered as a missed opportunity once again to make significant investments to rebuild Minnesota’s aging transportation system.
As a candidate for Bloomington City Council, I have spent the past few months meeting with residents throughout our community. Over and over, Bloomington residents have told me that one of their top concerns is the current transportation system.
Commuters are troubled by growing congestion and the quality of our roads. Seniors and those with disabilities are concerned by the safety challenges that confront them as they walk to and from their residences. Parents – myself and my husband included – are troubled by the speed and volume of automobiles as children try to go to our schools, libraries and parks.
In a guest column that appeared in this publication a year ago, the Bloomington Chamber of Commerce president noted that to maintain the region’s economic competitiveness, a transportation network is needed “that serves the needs of all residents – those who choose to drive, walk, bike or take public transit.” I agree.
For these reasons, when I had the opportunity to testify before a Minnesota legislative committee that was considering the various transportation funding bills, I appeared and conveyed what Bloomington residents were telling me about their transportation needs. I argued that a comprehensive transportation system would help create better access to jobs and services, promote transit-oriented development and improve safety for all residents.
Needless to say, like most others, I was disappointed when efforts to pass a comprehensive transportation funding measure got bogged down in political posturing. I believe we can do better.
I sincerely hope that the bipartisanship that marked this session of the Minnesota Legislature continues into future years. But I also hope that bipartisanship extends itself to the long overdue creation of a comprehensive approach to fixing our aging transportation system. Bloomington and all of Minnesota will be better for it.