TRANSPORTATION POLICY LEADERSHIP IN MINNESOTA
Minnesota is plagued by fragmented decision-making on proposed
road and rail improvements of a size that far exceeds our
ability to fund them.
Transportation is of vital
importance to the future of Minnesota's economy. Yet the state
has seriously overlooked the need for coordinating major
transportation investments in a common budget. Consequently,
the state has neither an overall economic strategy for such
investments nor the ability to trade off investments in one area
state's future transportation path has evolved into a
politically derived laundry list of earmarked local investments
that do not fit into an overall plan.
Assembled by a host of different agencies, these transportation
ideas far exceed any reasonable cost forecast based upon growth
in the economy.
hopelessly swamped by fragmented decision making. We see
investments in major roads that branch out to serve new
development on the edge of the region while congestion grows on
major circulator freeways. We see proposed investments for LRT
that will do little to relieve congestion on adjoining freeways.
Minnesota can no longer afford to ignore the synergy between
road and rail. A change in one
affects the other.
main transportation problem is lack of leadership. We must have
a statewide comprehensive transportation plan and budget.
Projects that are undertaken within the budget should relate to
reasonable estimates of revenue and should serve statewide
priorities and objectives. Our challenge, with our fragmented
system, is who should assume responsibility and provide the
needed leadership. The state has highly qualified
transportation staffs at various levels. The issue isn't
professional competence. The issue is policy leadership.
Require an integrated, comprehensive transportation budget--We
recommend that the Minnesota Governor and Legislature enact
legislation requiring a fully integrated comprehensive
transportation budget every two years. The transportation
budget should contain estimates of expected revenue for each of
the next ten years. It must identify priorities for construction
and operation of both freight and passenger, rail and road,
transportation facilities and services in all parts of the
state. The budget must accommodate all modes of travel including
high-speed, medium speed, and lower speed rail; buses,
specialized bus services, freeways, expressways, trunk highways,
major county and municipal roads, airports, and waterways.
should encompass all transportation expenditures, both public
and private. It should include public dollars not subject to the
Governor and Legislature's control because they already are
earmarked constitutionally or legislatively for certain
purposes, agencies or units of government. The budget should
recommend how all public funds be allocated, consistent with
statewide needs. Even if such recommendations aren't followed,
an overall state interest will have been asserted. A
comprehensive budget will also help clarify the state's interest
in facilitating agreement with municipalities which have veto
power over the approval of trunk highway improvements within
such a budget, there's no overall visible basis for assuring
that proposed new or expanded rail lines, freeways, interchanges
or other transportation improvements are undertaken in the most
cost effective manner and that agreed-upon public objectives
within available funds are achieved.
the Metropolitan Council, both appointed by the Governor, have
major 20-year detailed plans either approved or in draft stage.
Those plans can be utilized in preparation of a comprehensive
transportation budget, even though roads and rail appear to be
treated more as unrelated components, with separate plans for
local expenditures for highways and transit in Minnesota totaled
about $5.2 billion in fiscal year 2006, of which about $2
billion was for state government expenditures, according to the
U.S. Census Bureau. Private investment (including auto and
other private expenses) in transportation dwarfs the public
share. In 2001, the most recent year for which the U.S.
Department of Transportation has reported cumulative private and
public investment in transportation, about $1.6 trillion was
spent on transportation in the entire United States, public and
private, according to the department. The amount attributable
to Minnesota was not specified. But if Minnesota's share were
proportional to its population, Minnesotans would have invested
$32 billion in transportation, public and private, in that year.
Place responsibility in the Governor and the Legislature--The
Governor should be assigned ultimate responsibility to recommend
a comprehensive transportation budget, just as the Governor now
has that responsibility for the state's general fund budget.
But special arrangements should be made to assure legislative
involvement, because of the pervasive impact of transportation
on all parts of the state and on a variety of interest groups.
The Legislature should establish a bipartisan group of House and
Senate members who would meet with the Governor's budget staff
periodically during the time that the budget is being prepared
to stay informed and provide input.
Integrate federal dollars.
The state's transportation priorities too often are skewed by
federal dollars that Congress earmarks for specific projects.
Such earmarks usually require a significant match of state
funds, irrespective of the state's budget or its preference to
spend its funds elsewhere. We prefer that federal dollars be
distributed as block grants to the state. Federal dollars ought
to be distributed to be consistent with, and in support of, a
credible, official, adopted comprehensive state plan and budget,
and not be the result of end-run approaches by groups whose
projects aren't given high priority by the state.
extent individual projects are earmarked for federal funding,
Congress and the sponsoring congressional legislator should:
1. Specify how a proposed project serves to
advance an adopted comprehensive state transportation plan and
2. Specify the national purpose
being met by each earmarked project.
3. Specify other short-term and long-term
capital and operating expenses that will have to be covered
in an earmarked project, along with identifying who will be
responsible for covering such financing.
Essential principles of a comprehensive state transportation
1. Be comprehensive,
covering all types of transportation facilities and services
including air, water, road and rail services, all locations, all
agencies and jurisdictions, with no exceptions.
2. Express measurable objectives very clearly.
It is essential that the transportation budget articulate
official objectives of state government. Some primary
objectives might be that improvements increase safety of
movement and ease congestion. Another objective might be to
reduce reliance on fossil fuels or to influence the location of
residential and businesses development.
It's not uncommon now for some advocates to advance
objectives with little evidence about whether or how objectives
will be realized or whether such objectives are in the state's
interest. Some groups cite economic development or
redevelopment as objectives without mentioning other public
investment for housing, retail, or other types of development
and without knowing how much the transportation investment will
contribute to achieving an objective.
3. Be specific, prioritized and
sustainable--That is, what will be done; what won't be done,
with financial resources specified, short-range (over the next
two to four years) and longer-range (over the next 10
years). No simple laundry list of everyone's desires or list of
Essential components of a comprehensive state transportation
Recommend changes in transportation taxes and user charges,
along with moving to a unified transportation fund. Widespread
interest is present today in future revenue sources, given major
uncertainty about declining revenue from gasoline taxes and
sales taxes on purchases of new and used vehicles. New revenue
sources such as taxes on vehicle miles traveled (adjusted for
weight of vehicles) need to be explored. Maximum efforts should
be undertaken to capture revenue from benefiting properties.
New revenues ought to be controlled by the Governor and
Legislature and not be subject to constitutional or legislative
dedication, as has been the case in the past. Changes will be
needed for a fully-unified fund to be established, but the
Governor could suggest ways to cap the growth of separate funds
and gradually reduce their significance. User fees on autos,
trucks, bus and rail transit users should be recommended as part
of the comprehensive transportation budget.
2. Recognize limitations of state general fund
dollars, which are
supported by general taxes and are in limited supply for other
state services such as health, education and public safety. It
is much more appropriate to raise transportation revenue from
those who use and those who benefit from the services, leaving
general sales and income taxes for state services that need to
rely on such revenues.
3. Link to the vision
of Minnesota in 2020 or 2030 and thus relate to serving job
locations, and the balance of public investments in education,
environmental improvement, and other investments.
4. Include operating expenses,
now and those projected in the future. No capital project
should be included without realistic arrangements for covering
all estimated operating expenses of the facility or
5. Compare various modes; encourage innovation,
in travel options for the same corridor,
e.g. bus, roads, and rail, side-by-side, to treat all options
equitably and to avoid unnecessary duplication and extra
expense. This means all options are treated as part of the
system, rather than separate systems. Innovative--and perhaps
heretofore risky--approaches for bus, roads and rail must be
examined, to take advantage of latest technologies.
SUPPORTING STATEMENTS FOR THE RECOMMENDATION
richly creative time for transportation in Minnesota, seemingly
filled almost daily with ideas from every direction. We can
identify a long list of successful transportation projects,
brought about by highly professional, dedicated staff at all
levels of government in the state.
because of a leadership vacuum, what an incredibly disjointed,
foggy outlook for the future. Minnesota's overall
transportation decision-making structure is in disarray. No one
is in charge.
there's any shortage of plans. MnDOT and the Metropolitan
Council have been hard at work compiling growing lists of needs
and preparing detailed descriptions of hopes and expectations
for the next 20 years. MnDOT illustrates what can happen
without additional funding, as well as outlining what could
happen with more revenue. For the MnDOT plan, see:
For the Council plan see:
importantly, these plans don't begin to encompass all
transportation aspirations. For example, Minnesota seems to be
contemplating an up-to-five-tier system of rail passenger
--(1) ultra high-speed rail on new and existing
rights of way between the Twin Cities and Chicago, with either a
Rochester stop or stops by way of Red Wing and Winona;
--(2) high-speed rail between the Twin Cities and
Duluth and to other communities in the state,
--(3) commuter rail from north of St. Cloud to the
Twin Cities, plus more long-distance commuter lines reaching
many smaller towns in Minnesota,
--(4) Light Rail Transit (LRT) between the downtowns
and extending to southwest of Minneapolis and in many other
directions as spokes from both downtowns to many suburbs, and
--(5) maybe slower streetcars in and near the
--New busways south and northwest of Minneapolis and
more buses on lines that largely serve the two downtowns.
--Financing operating deficits that grow as each new
set of rail cars and each new bus is added.
--Enhancing rail for freight.
--Maintaining smooth road surfaces and rebuilding
our 130,000-mile road system.
--Adding lanes for freeways and expressways and
Controversies frequently occur over which cities will be served
by proposed improvements, assuming that all plans are moving
ahead and all revenue is accounted for, or expected from the
federal treasury. It is as if we have unlimited capacity to
accomplish everyone's desires, whatever construction or
operating expenses happen to be.
Many of us
might be deceived simply because there's so much going on: a
recent increase in the state highway user taxes, making more
sales tax revenue available to transit, speedy construction to
replace the collapsed 35W bridge, new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on
I-35W and Cedar Avenue into Dakota County, use of the Hiawatha
LRT line, reconstruction of the Crosstown-35W interchange,
extension of Hwy. 610 in the north suburbs, extension of Hwy.
312 in the southwest suburbs and the building of Hwy. 169 across
the Minnesota River and around Shakopee, as well as other
improvements under way, including the forthcoming opening of
commuter rail from Big Lake to Minneapolis, and the start of the
Central Corridor light rail between downtown Minneapolis and
downtown St. Paul.
everything can't happen, what will? The state and nation today
face unprecedented short-term and long-term financial challenges
that were not even imaginable a year ago. Even keeping
existing roads and rail in decent shape will be expensive.
Moreover, possible new revenue sources encounter more critics
seem to be as many objectives as hoped-for projects.
We need to fix the potholes. We need to replace old bridges.
We need to repave the roads and streets to smooth the surfaces.
We need more alternatives to the private car. We need to reduce
our reliance on fossil fuels. We need to move people faster.
We need to reduce congestion. We need to guide the location of
new residences and employers into the central cities. We need
to increase densities to reduce sprawl and increase the market
for transit. We need to guide the location of new residences
and employers into rural areas. We need improved rails, roads,
busways, waterways, and airports. We need to help the poor and
those who cannot operate a car with their mobility. We need to
keep transit fares low or at least competitive in the peak hours
with the expense of all day parking in the downtowns and at the
University of Minnesota. We need to provide low cost fares for
those going to entertainment events in the downtowns to reduce
out-of-pocket costs for those events. The Governor and
Legislature must sort out all ideas and establish the objectives
to govern transportation budgeting and priorities.
upon agency has some influence over priorities for
transportation dollars, including a new metropolitan transit
agency established in 2008, on top of one already in existence.
There's lots of collaboration and cooperation, and lots of
administrative expense. But no one really is in charge.
or some body with statewide credibility must identify which
objectives are paramount and which improvements--in order of
priority--are needed, and how they will be paid for, both
capital, and long-term operating expense.
deal with constitutional or statutory preferential access to
revenue for certain projects, regardless of need or priority,
must be addressed.
central question isn't what do we build next. It isn't where do
we find the money.
the leadership? That's the question we address in this report.
a. Importance of transportation to the economy of
the state--Transportation policy ought not be based on the
sum total of all projects favored by every agency or interest
group or on arbitrarily parceling some projects to everyone.
Transportation ought to be regarded for what it is--a central
component in building the economy of the state--and be planned
strategically. The need to bring raw materials to business and
goods to markets, so essential for the state's economy, might be
receiving lower priority in favor of the more popular need of
b. Importance of identifying specific objectives--State
policy on transportation needs to be expressed specifically, so
that people throughout the state can clearly understand the
state purposes of each major state investment. The Interstate
highway system started in the 1950s had clear federal objectives
for the use of federal funds.
Strategic leadership by the Governor and Legislature is
essential-- The Governor must reclaim a comprehensive
transportation policy for the people of the state, with clear
direction from the Legislature as to what is possible. It is
essential that overall strategies be outlined, in sufficient
detail to assure a framework for intelligent choices in an
atmosphere of continuously growing wants that far exceed
available funds. Only at the state level, within the offices
of Governor and the Legislature, is it possible to bring all
aspects of transportation together in one budget and produce any
kind of coherent statewide policy.
a. Current situation is much more serious than is
widely accepted or understood--We in Minnesota have
established so many independent and overlapping governmental
arrangements for planning, building, maintaining, and financing
roads, buses, rail, airport, and waterway systems that it is
virtually impossible today to identify--let alone
implement--goals. The problem is intensifying year-by-year as
new structural and financing devices are added. Regrettably,
the problem is not widely recognized. When it comes to
competing with other states for economic development, we ought
to be keenly aware that a strong transportation system with
targeted improvements can offset natural handicaps caused by our
b. Multiple interests are present--Decisions
on rail, buses, and roads are parceled among many agencies and
units of government, each with its own interest groups
advocating expansion and claiming their own revenue sources
while advocating for more. Struggles among rail, bus, and road
interests, among different parts of the state and among
different agencies and levels of government are inevitable, and
might be desirable. These struggles assure that needs won't be
overlooked. But an absence of overall direction means local and
personal interests too often will triumph and the overall public
interest will be sacrificed or severely lag.
The title of one agency, the Minnesota Department of
Transportation, implies influence over all transportation, but
its traditional assignment, highways, remains its prime
function. MnDOT is in the midst of its first state rail plan,
but it is far from clear that the rail plan and highway plan
will be merged into a single rail-highway plan or that separate
rail and highway plans will be retained. A State Planning
Agency was abolished several years ago, although arguments are
made that the state planning function was simply reassigned to
other parts of state government. Nevertheless, state planning
is clearly not acknowledged as a strategic part of state
c. Regional needs don't jibe with jurisdictional
boundaries--The Metropolitan Council's transportation
responsibilities are largely limited to a seven-county area,
even though the real metro area has extended at least to 11
counties and perhaps to as many as 19 counties.
a. Importance of setting priorities--MnDOT's
draft Statewide Transportation Plan identifies total needed
investment, if performance targets are to be met, of $62 billion
between 2009 and 2030. MnDOT estimates that at current tax
rates, $15 billion will be available, producing a gap of $47
billion over 21 years, or $2.2 billion per year, vastly in
excess of whatever would be reasonably possible to raise. A
one-penny-a-gallon increase in the state gasoline tax yields
about $32 million a year. However, because of constitutional
guarantees to counties and cities, only about $19 million a year
would be available for state trunk highways. A $1.16-a-gallon
increase in the state gasoline tax would raise $2.2
billion a year for state trunk highways, assuming no decrease in
vehicle mileage. Consequently, priorities on improvements must
be set very carefully within this very constrained budget.
Revenue increases may be possible from various sources but they
too are likely to be politically very limited.
b. Current demands by benefiting interests
are very influential--Regardless of the importance of
ranking projects by sober analysis and systematic rating, the
demands expressed by units of government, associations of
communities, and other benefiting interests appear very
politically influential in setting priorities.
Setting priorities for capital improvements is an
essential part of every public and private endeavor, and need
not be different when it comes to transportation. Priorities
can be clearly identified and will emerge from use of widely
recognized measurements. Many projects need to be compared and
contrasted with each other and their comparative impacts
measured. While results of such analysis are never accepted
without question, they can build much needed rationality into
every system that weighs one need against another.
c. Imbalance between new construction and
needs aggressive action on rebuilding and maintenance to
preserve its substantial network of roads, buses and rails for
years to come. Yet we are allowing capital earmarks for added
lanes or interchanges on highways or new rail lines and giving
too little attention to investments to preserve and maintain the
existing system. This approach also fails to give adequate
attention to future operating and rebuilding expenses.
d. Availability of federal matching dollars is
distorting investment choices and real needs--In
many cases it appears that certain projects are scheduled
because of availability of federal dollars, even though the
state and localities might have higher priorities elsewhere.
Federal dollars ought flow directly to the states,
perhaps in a manner similar to the way federal Community
Development Block Grants (CDBG) flow to cities, with a
requirement that they be distributed to advance state-adopted
transportation budgets. Another possibility is that the
federal gasoline tax could simply be returned to the states
where the tax was paid.
e. Questionable decisions on choice of modes--It
is difficult to identify a consistent policy on LRT priorities.
For example, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) rather than Light Rail
Transit (LRT) was chosen for the 35W corridor south of
Minneapolis, while other corridors with less travel demand were
selected for the higher-capacity LRT.
f. In the metro area high-demand,
congestion-producing, job-related cross-town trips often seem to
have lower priority than traditional downtown-oriented routes--Fixed-route
transit continues to largely serve the jobs, governmental,
retail and entertainment activities found in the two downtowns
as did the earlier streetcar system. But jobs, retail and many
entertainment locations have changed. Now in the Twin Cities
area 85 percent or more of the jobs are outside the two
downtowns. New ways to serve much more dispersed locations are
The biggest need for workers and employers is that
the workers have available a transportation system that gets
them to work as efficiently as possible. A transit system that
serves only those workers and employers who happen to be served
by downtown-oriented fixed transit routes will touch barely a
fraction of work trips--particularly in a metro area where trips
resemble more a ball of yarn than spokes on a wheel.
g. Groups with control over public funding
sources have extraordinary influence on priorities--The
state constitution gives counties and cities exclusive use of a
significant portion of state gasoline and motor vehicle license
revenue and prohibits their use for non-highway purposes. The
constitution also now prescribes which agencies shall have
access to the sales tax on new and used vehicles.
Minnesota's constitutionally-protected highway user
tax distribution fund for fiscal 2008 provided some $783 million
to state highways; $358 million to county highways; $111 million
to municipal highways; $30 million to township roads and
bridges, and $35 million, to other state, municipal, and county
highways, according to House Research, Minnesota House of
State law has authorized metro counties to raise
sales tax revenue that is specifically limited to construction
of transitways, by rail and buses. Moreover, each county
essentially exercises veto power over how much of this revenue
stays within the county. Almost forgotten is the fact that
counties under the constitution are not home rule units of
government. They are operating arms of the state.
h. Using transportation policy to deliberately
influence community development needs a closer look--Influencing
the location of new residential and business development, not
just easing congestion, is frequently cited as an objective for
investing in a new transportation mode or an interchange, lane
expansion or rail transit station. However, no one knows who is
supposed to make development decisions. It's often not clear
whether a transportation investment will achieve a development
objective or whether the investment is only a part of the total
public investment that will be requested or needed. The current
system, for example, lacks the ability to determine how much of
the transportation investment in an LRT line will contribute to
re-developing a corridor and what other public funds will be
needed in addition to transportation investments.
Much of the big debate about transportation appears
to swirl around whether the region as it grows should be built
at higher densities or continue to reflect lower density choices
of the market and of most cities. These development objectives
sometimes appear inconsistent with popular rail proposals. For
example, discouraging urban sprawl seems to conflict with
building long distance commuter rail to outlying counties.
We need to recognize that transportation is but
one--and maybe not the most significant--factor affecting where,
what kind, and how much residential and commercial development
occurs, its location and type. Developers and land investors
who are market sensitive and who work with individual
municipalities are extremely influential. Location and timing
of construction of major sewers might be the most significant
public investments in directing the location and extent of
development on the outer edge of the urban area. .
Finding revenue sources outside the general fund--The
general revenue fund, supplied by income and sales taxes, is in
precious short supply for services like education and health and
human services, which are poorly suited to be funded by other
state sources. Transportation instead can rely on user taxes,
fees, fares, and income from various measured benefits.
However, transportation in Minnesota has tapped general revenue
sources twice in the last three years, for transit operating
expenses, for highways, and for transit way construction.
b. Decisions on paying for operating expenses
are not being made at the same time as decisions on capital
investments--Today, financing to expand rail, bus or roads
is frequently considered first, and operating expenses are seen
as something to address later Lawmakers should insist that
every capital project for transportation be accompanied by
arrangements to cover operating and maintenance expenses.
With fare box revenue covering one-third or less of transit
operating expenses (25 percent for Metro Transit in 2008) , and
with transit operating expenses escalating, even as riders
increase, it is absolutely critical that operating and capital
financing be arranged concurrently and in advance.
c. Different kinds of vehicles don't pay their
proportionate share of transportation expenses, based on weight,
distance traveled and time of day--When certain heavier
vehicles require stronger bridges and pavements and if these
vehicles are not paying for the wear and tear they cause, their
fees ought to be adjusted accordingly.
d. Newer methods for financing
transportation need to be evaluated--Shortcomings of
existing revenue sources that are dependent upon the price of
vehicles and the price and usage of gasoline are clearly
evident. But so many other options have yet to be implemented,
such as having users pay according to weight of the vehicle,
time of day, location, and length of trip. Also the state is
hardly prepared for taxing energy used by electrically-powered
e. Discontinue past practices of revenue
allocation when new sources are implemented--Lawmakers
should no longer permit any one agency, level of government or
mode of transportation to be granted exclusive access to
specific revenue sources. This has been a widespread practice
for decades that has multiplied in recent years. If a new
source of funding is identified, the proceeds should not flow
into the constitutionally-dedicated funding pot. Instead the
state itself should collect the funds and then distribute them.
In no event should new revenues be allocated by fixed
percentages as is the case with the current
constitutionally-dedicated revenues. Nothing is perhaps more
critical in implementing state transportation policy.
Every agency and unit of government that delivers
any service--transportation or otherwise--would like a stable
revenue source that isn't vulnerable to year-by-year decisions
of elected officials or the vagaries of the economy. Some argue
that large transportation projects may take many years or that
the upgrading of a corridor or rail line will take many years.
While this is true, it is not much different from the multi-year
nature of many health care and education programs. Elected
officials must retain authority over revenues--to balance new
priorities over time, to keep revenues in check and to preserve
representative government. As has been clearly evident
recently, revenues sometimes shrink significantly. That may
mean some transportation projects will take longer to complete
or that some changes will need to be made to the scope of the
improvement. Some agencies should not continue to reap funds
automatically because of a previously-approved statute or
constitutionally approved revenue share.
POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATIONS CONSIDERED
selected our recommendation, to center transportation leadership
in the Governor and Legislature, over four other possibilities.
1. Enact state legislation to require MnDOT to
follow the earlier-mentioned principles and components in a
recommended comprehensive state transportation budget.
Currently, MnDOT is involving all stakeholders (contractors,
architects, counties, cities, freight, rail and other
transportation interests) in its development of a plan it says
will be comprehensive. But the MnDOT plan doesn't appear to be
in a position to enforce one set of priorities that combine
roads, rails and buses. Under existing law, MnDOT can involve,
but can't bind, participating stakeholders. Moreover,
"stakeholders" in this case are groups or local elected
officials with intimate involvement in transportation
construction and operations, not the general public.
2. Enact state legislation to require the
Metropolitan Council to prepare plans for an enlarged
metropolitan area (extending beyond the current seven-county
area), with MnDOT responsible for the balance of the state.
3. Elect or appoint a state transportation board,
independent of stakeholders, with responsibility to present a
comprehensive budget to the Governor and Legislature,
incorporating above-mentioned principles. Such a board would
need to be strong enough to withstand end-run approaches to the
Legislature by transportation interests with their own
4. Enact a constitutional amendment to eliminate
the highway trust fund and the dedication to transit of a
portion of state sales taxes. Those funds would then flow into
the general fund, where the Governor would have no choice but to
include them, including priorities, in the state's general fund
the first two options can be incorporated in our preferred
recommendations. The Governor undoubtedly would use MnDOT as
prime staff and could decide to utilize the Metropolitan Council
to be chiefly responsible for plans in the metro area.
option is a more extreme proposal and subject to criticism that
the state doesn't need another agency. Stakeholders likely
would demand seats on any such board, which would dilute its
ability to present a truly comprehensive budget that cuts across
option represents the best way to unify the state's
transportation budget but probably stands the least chance of
enactment today. Highway and transit interests both would be
likely to oppose an amendment, fearing loss of revenue.
Reports issued over the last six years--The
Civic Caucus has issued three reports on transportation over the
last six years:
1. Untangling Traffic Congestion in the Expanded
March 12, 2003--http://www.civiccaucus.org/Reporttransportation_03.htm.
This report recommended increased revenue and a stronger state
role in transportation for the entire 19-county metropolitan
2. Follow-up Statement on 2003 report,
October 25, 2004--http://www.civiccaucus.org/ReportTransportation_04.htm.
This report recommended stronger community leadership to obtain
support for legislative action on transportation.
3. Proposed Constitutional Amendment on
Transportation, September 26, 2006--http://www.civiccaucus.org/ReportTranspAmend_09_06.htm.
This report opposed using the state constitution to dedicate the
sales tax on new and used vehicles to transportation.
Circulating information on transportation on an on-going basis--The
Civic Caucus has interviewed more than 150 thought leaders in
recent years. The Civic Caucus has organized these comments
according to different topics, including transportation. All
transportation comments may be reviewed by clicking on http://www.civiccaucus.org/issuetransportation.htm.
Comments are further subdivided by eight separate transportation
transportation leaders interviewed in the last several months
are Tom Sorel, state commissioner of transportation; State Rep.
Margaert Anderson Kelliher; State Rep. Martin Seifert; four
persons involved in freight transportation, State Rep. Alice
Hausman; John DeWitt, co-founder, Transit for Livable
Communities; Arlene McCarthy, transportation director,
Metropolitan Council; Conrad deFiebre, fellow, Minnesota 2020;
Matt Kane, policy fellow, Growth & Justice; Craig Westover,
Minnesota Free Market Institute; Peter Bell, chair, Metropolitan
Council; Peter McLaughlin, Hennepin County Commissioner, and
Congressman Jim Oberstar.
of all interviews, along with commentary from Civic Caucus
participants, are available at http://civiccaucus.org.
Summaries are distributed via email to some 1,100 participants,
who are invited to share their thoughts on the summary and
respond to specific questions. All comments, along with
individual and aggregated responses to questions, are available
on the website. Comments routinely run six to 10 pages,
single-spaced, from an average of 35 to 40 individuals per
Civic Caucus process--The
Civic Caucus is a non-partisan, tax-exempt, educational
organization, with a unique approach for involving
participants. A small core group meets weekly. (See
for background on members of the core.) Another 1,100 persons
participate on-line. Summaries of weekly meetings are
circulated to all participants, who, in turn, are invited to
share their comments and respond to questions. Those comments
and responses are placed permanently on the Civic Caucus
Caucus occasionally prepares position papers, such as this
position paper on transportation leadership. When a position
paper is prepared, the Civic Caucus reviews information provided
by thought leaders on the subject under study, as outlined
draft is prepared, reviewed and changed by the Civic Caucus core
group, after which it is circulated among on-line participants
for their input. The Civic Caucus makes further changes based
on participants' suggestions, and the report then is approved by
the Civic Caucus core group. After approval, the final report
is circulated among the on-line participants, requesting their
signatures in support. Names of supporters then are included in
the final report. Participants' suggestions and comments, pro
and con, are placed on the website adjacent to the final report.
Persons signing on in support of this report:
Norman R .
Durenberger, U. S. Senate, ret.
Michael E. Miller,
Marilyn G. Miller