by Ethan Hiedeman
The time is now, to secure a greener transit future for Minnesota. The Sierra Club North Star Chapter is a strong partner in the Move Minnesota coalition – a statewide campaign to accelerate next-generation transit projects both in the metro and Greater Minnesota, to construct and maintain bicycle, trail and pedestrian infrastructure, to provide safe routes to schools, and to fund complete streets that make our roads safer for all. We are committed to addressing Minnesota’s urgent transportation needs by seeking a comprehensive, balanced funding solution.
Coalition partners agree that 2014 is the time to make a strong push for investment in Minnesota’s transportation future. Improving transit, pedestrian, and bike infrastructure has clear environmental and societal benefits: lower levels of energy consumption, air and water pollution, and natural habitat destruction, as well as more conservation of farmland and open space. Yet in spite of these gains, funding for these projects is scarce all around the state.
“The Transit for a Stronger Economy coalition was just inches away from securing critically needed investment for green transportation options last legislative session,” said Joshua Houdek, Sierra Club’s Land Use and Transportation Program Manager. “We have regrouped into a bigger, stronger, and more diverse Move Minnesota coalition to get what needs to be done in 2014.”
To kick things off, Metropolitan Council Chair Sue Haigh and Minnesota Department of Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle invite you to attend town hall meetings on transportation, including transit:
Thursday, Dec 12, 4 to 6pm, at Century College, 3300 Century Ave. N., East Campus, Room #2315, White Bear Lake
Tuesday, Dec 17, 4 to 6pm at Burnsville High School Theatre, Mraz Center for the Performing Arts, 600 East Highway 13, Burnsville
We are planning great new transit corridors but do not have funding to build out the regional transit system, expand critical local bus service, or make our streets friendlier and safer to ride a bike or walk. Your voice is needed to spread this important message!
What needs to get done includes investment in projects around the state that will improve the quality of existing infrastructure as well as in new projects that will promote healthier, less consumptive transportation.
The Governor and legislative leadership agree that investment in transportation was a key piece of business left unfinished from the 2013 session, and there is broad support for reform from both business and labor. One of the Move Minnesota campaign’s goals is to engage environmentally-minded voters to push for passage of key legislation in 2014. We cannot afford to remain on the sidelines while Minnesota’s transit future is decided.
Visit Move Minnesota’s website to find out more, and let your state legislators know that you support investing in a green transit future. Questions? Just contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Ethan Hiedeman is a Social Media and Blog Writer Intern with the North Star Chapter. He is a graduate of St. Olaf College in environmental studies and political science and hails from Hastings, MN. Ethan loves to write and aspires to tell the important stories of the environmental movement and how people interact with their planet.