The Legislative session is wrapping up as are discussions around a new state transportation funding package. Please take action today to ask your legislator to be a leader within their party asking for the final transportation bill to include walking and biking funding.
(Photo: Nick Busse:/Flickr Creative Commons)
Why take action?
The Senate bill includes $56 million a year for biking and walking statewide, which would allow for many critical walk/bike improvements. There is no guarantee that a transportation bill will be done. And if it is done, there is no guarantee that the bill will include significant needed funding for walking and biking improvements. Minneapolis legislators can play a key role in ensuring walking and biking funding in any final bill by telling their party leadership it is critical. If a bill is passed without walking and biking, it is unlikely that state funding for biking and walking would happen anytime in the foreseeable future.
Who to contact:
Thank you for your support of a comprehensive transportation funding bill. As the final negotiations happen, I hope you will help ensure that needed dedicated biking and walking funding is included in the final package. Please let your leadership know it is important for Minnesota.
Share why biking and walking is important to you.
Full Details on the Minnesota Transportation Bill Status
The Republican-controlled House has passed a transportation bill that uses General Fund money to support billions in new road funding, cuts transit, and ignores walking and biking.
The DFL-controlled Senate has passed a transportation bill that uses a gas tax increase to support billions in new road funding, a metro-area sales tax increase to fund building out on the Twin Cities transit system, and puts $56 million a year to walking and biking.
A “conference committee” made up of five legislators from each of the House and Senate started meeting Tuesday, May 5 to work out details and try to bring the very different bills together.
But the high-level pieces of a transportation bill (will there be a gas tax? will there be a sales tax for transit/bike/walk?) will likely be part of a “global deal” and most directly connected to the Tax bill. The primary negotiators for that deal will be DFL Governor Mark Dayton, DFL Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, and Republican Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt. The Governor has stated his support for a gas tax and sales tax package while Bakk and Daudt will work to reflect the will of the legislators from their party and their willingness to compromise on different elements.
This quote from Senator Bakk in MPR provides one insight into what might be to come: “He [Speaker Daudt] said, ‘Well, I have to have a tax bill.’ I said I really want to get a transportation bill. And he said a second time, ‘Well, I have to have a tax bill,'” Bakk recounted. “And I said I’m willing to consider matching you dollar for dollar. For every dollar in gas tax money he’s willing to give me in that bill, I’m willing to give him a dollar in tax relief.”
The session ends May 18 (unless there is a special session). A transportation bill is not required to avoid a government shutdown, so there is some possibility that no agreement will be reached, although all sides have made transportation (manifest in very different bills) a very public priority/promise, so there will be pressure to get it done. Will it be done with your priorities in mind? Well, that will largely depend on whether you let your ideas known! We all make a difference–voice your thoughts.