People hold varying views about how serious transportation problems
are in Minnesota. On a scale of (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral,
to (10) most agreement, please indicate your feelings on these
average____ Problems have been largely addressed by recent
action authorizing new revenue for highways, rail and buses and
increasing the role of counties in planning transitways.
average____ Serious problems remain. The state's
transportation leadership process is intolerably fractionated with no
enforceable strategic plan.
B. Several options have been advanced to produce enforceable,
comprehensive, strategic transportation plans for the state. On a
scale of (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most
agreement, please indicate your feelings on these options:
average___ Assign the job to the Governor.
average___ Assign the job to the Minnesota Department of
average____ Assign the job to the Metropolitan Council for
an enlarged Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area and to MnDOT for
the rest of the state.
average___ Assign the job to a new elected or appointed
state transportation commission.
average____ Enact a constitutional amendment to return to
the state general revenue found those highway and transit funds now
guaranteed to various levels of government and agencies.
6. Other. Please specify: ____________________________________
A: (0) (10)
B: (10) (0) (0) (0) (10)
This is a terrific
initiative, and I hope the Caucus can have some real impact when the
final report comes out.
My responses to your survey are shown below, but I want to emphasize a
more general comment as well. Specifically, I believe the Governor is
really the only official in a position to take complete charge of this
process from beginning to end; and he or she must be required to do so
in a responsible and comprehensive fashion. The construction money
comes from the Feds, and they need to hear a clear message from the
State as a whole. We must have a comprehensive plan. The operating
funds come from various local and statewide sources, and someone (the
Governor again) must anticipate those needs and provide for a balanced
So, I would suggest a two step approach — essentially a combination of
options #1 and #5. I would push to get #1 implemented as soon as
possible. I would also require true transparency in the process to
make sure the Governor actually fulfills the obligation. Then, after
two or three years, when the process is firmly in place, I would go
for #5 and give the Governor and Legislature the power and
responsibility to manage the system directly.
This may be a too idealistic approach, but the system we have now is
ludicrous and truly failing the State.
A: (1) (10)
B: (3) (5) (1) (8) (0)
Under Part A
Question 1. 1
While many expected that last year's transportation bill was going to
magically fix everything it did nothing to address anything but
funding and with the economic downturn it turns out that it even
failed to accomplish that.
Question 2. 10 It
goes much deeper than the fractional issues described hear in. The
connections existing between MNDOT and the Federal DOT will continue
to undermine and trump state and county input into transportation
Under Part B
Question 1. 3 I
dislike the idea of making transportation a political football and
while the Governor's office would be better than the legislature,
neither would serve the people of Minnesota well.
Question 2. 5
Ideally this should be the best solution if MNDOT were not like a
suckling pig on the federal teat, it's an issue of who and how they
are accountable to.
Question 3. 1
Splitting the planning process as described hear will inevitably
shortchange rural Minnesota.
Question 4. 8 for
newly elected body, 0 for appointed body. This answer is qualified by
either how this proposed body is elected or appointed.
Question 5. 0
Absolutely not under any circumstances.
Question 6. 8 Put
MNDOT under the control of a regional board elected by county boards
from each of those regional areas. These autonomous regions should be
created to preserve rural integrity not coupled with metro areas to
maintain metro domination of the process.
A: (3) (9)
B: (10) (5) (2) (5) (7)
The summary recommendations are coming together well. There will be a
few adjustments as we move ahead but the focus and key recommendations
are setting a well supported approach.
actions have addressed how to raise funds but not how a plan should
be prepared so we continue to have funds which seem in many cases
to be spent in a rather disjointed way. It seems basically flawed that
we worry about funding without first saying something about what and
how decisions are made.
Question 2: As we have discussed this issue the lack of leadership
comes up in almost every angle we can think of. The only reason I did
not call this a 10 is that some people have expressed that leadership
is emerging etc. Based on what I have heard the fractions seem to be
winning the battle and the strategic plan although moving ahead may be
just one more study with no authority or accountability. We need a
responsibility focus which ensure accountability.
Assigning the function here is the only place--now many will say he
can't do this with the full scope of the governor job--the issue is
how he organizes, delegates but maintains the responsibility and
accountability. By placing the responsibility with the governor the
plan will have attention to link the plan to state visions for jobs
Question 2: This is an administrative management function and
organization. The plan must be assigned to a point of leadership not
management. Once the plan is defined it must be MnDOT's job to make it
happen. Too often we mix leadership positions with management.
Leadership needs to set the stage for management and execution.
approach will only increase the lack of cooperation between metro and
the rural parts of Mn--we need a single agency with overall Minnesota
to lead. If in the process after the strategic plan is established it
can best be managed by dividing a suggested that may be possibility.
Question 4: This could be part of the planning function--this group
would prepare the plan--report to the governor --independent of MnDOT--commission
would act as an independent agent to build and keep current a
strategic plan. The plan would be accountable to the governor.
Commission would track and prioritize--governor would lead.
Question 5: This should be the trust objective but must be done in a
way that maintains an objective view across all of Mn and across all
types of transportation. State funds must be used as State funds and
not as a fund for the one who cries the loudest.
stuff on transportation issues, but any top level planning, which is
necessary, must do something about local veto of routes and
design (and even the "modal split"). We have to prevent recurrence of
such bad designs as the Crosstown Commons, the non-standard Interstate
35E south of St. Paul, and the swinging door in Nisswa (one council
says yes to SH371 through town, the next says no, there must be a
by-pass, then the council changes again -- and there is another
study). NIMBY is a serious problem...exacerbated by legislators voting
their districts. I wrestled with this issue as counsel for MNDOT...many
A: (0) (10)
B: (2) (2) (0) (10) (10)
Well thought out
and presented package. Rating on No 5, part B, depends on enactment
of No. 4.
Robert J. Brown
A: (0) (10)
Part B: (10) (8) (7) (5) (10)
Please remember to
keep transportation planning connected to the more comprehensive goals
of planning for economic development, education, housing, recreation,
etc. In other words, re-create a strong state planning agency.
A: (4) (9)
B: (8) (4) (4) (2) (8)
I realize we want
to focus on recommendations now. However, I think the list of
inadequacies is most critical to persuade people that the system needs
to be changed. It's not that we lack a nice strategic plan but that
we're wasting severely limited resources in some types of projects at
a time when we can't begin to undertake even half of the projects
needed to maintain the existing system let alone reduce existing
congestion or selectively encourage targeted economic development.
A: (2) (8)
Part B: (0) (0) (0) (10) (0)
We've seen the
sorry results of lack of leadership by several governors on
transportation. I doubt giving more power to the governor (or his
underlings at MnDOT and Met Council) will solve the problems. A state
transportation board has a chance to equitably represent all of
Minnesota's regions and interest groups as well as the state's overall
economic prospects, which is the point of transportation investment,
A: (0) (10)
A: (0) (9)
Part B: (1) (6) (4) (6) (8)
high. If MNDOT gets full authority, fine. If not, establish a new
commission -- an unfortunate alternative because it adds another layer
of government. On another least-bad choice, this one on
constitutional amendments. Governing by amendment is a lousy method;
but an amendment seems to be the only way to get rid of
constitutionally mandated transportation funds.
A: (6) (0)
Part B: (0 (5) (0) (6) (0)
Anderson's PRT should have been considered years ago.
A: (3) (9)
B: (7) (8) (5) (2) (5)
A: (2) (8)
B: (_) (_) (_)(10) (_)
A: (5) (10)
Part B: (10) (4) (9) (3) (9)
A: (0) (10)
exists an extensive transportation system planning process for the
state and the Twin Cities region. Mn/DOT has recently issued the
draft 20-year Statewide Transportation Plan for public comment. The
Metropolitan Council recently completed and issued its 2030
Transportation Policy Plan for the region. These are interrelated
documents, built with great cooperation between the two agencies. Mn/DOT
is also in the process of drafting the statewide freight and passenger
rail plan, as directed by the state Legislature, which will be
completed by the end of 2009. Mn/DOT also issues 4-year, 10-year and
20-year investment plans based on expected state and federal
revenues. Rather than stating, as the CC seems to be doing, that
there is no comprehensive transportation planning in the state, I feel
the CC would be better served if it recognized the existing, legally
required planning efforts, understand them, offer an objective
critique, and then offer
suggestions on how to improve those efforts to better serve the future
of the state.
A: (5) (7)
Part B: (3) (3) (1) (7) (2)
Question 1: No, the
governor should be one voice among others. Not the primary say
or politics are guaranteed to play a major role instead of vision,
efficiency or efficacy.
should be at the table but as one of the voices. Their role should be
the roll out.
Question 3: They should be one voice at the table.
Question 4: If appointed on a bipartisan/strong expertise basis. Not
elected because no one would know what they would be voting for.
unless a visionary and fair system or commission is in place.
Question 6: (8) A
bipartisan summit should be in place to create a fair and equitable
vision that can roll out as part of a consistent, futuristic and
A: (1) (9)
B: (9) (2) (8) (5) (5)
is a very tough issue. MnDOT has been a great disappointment -- the
power of the highway-oriented community continues to dominate. The
politics surrounding highways is extremely intense. I just don't know
how to break up the tradition of highways in this state.
Question 6: Assignment to the governor makes some sense, although no
governor has been immune to he pressures listed above. We have a real
quagmire on our hands.
Donald H. Anderson
A: (3) (10)
B: (5) (4) (0) (5) (0)
Are we so
polarized over the question of taxes that we can't approach any
problem in the better interests of the total solution to
transportation problems with too many levels of government involved?
A: (0) (10)
Part B: (0) (0) (10) (0) (0)
The ideas or
principles are generally sound, in my view. We need to define a sense
of positive, can-do urgency that will inspire widespread citizen
support. The “Preliminary Draft, Outline of Recommendations on
Transportation Leadership” paper needs some polish and
rewording…too many negative “no” this or that. Having a Minnesota
governor “own” transportation like governor’s generally own education
The state does
need a long term, master plan, to be sure.
Repealing the two
recent constitutional amendments that further fund transportation
could be a waste of time and too costly.
Being unwilling to
take sides on what kind of transportation mode to use and the creation
of a new political body could be unsound notions and that could
further delay progress.
The idea of a larger Metro Council should not stand in the way of
progress on transportation.
Part A: (3) (9)
Part B: (4) (5) (6) (7) (4)
It's such a
pleasure to drive on good uncrowded roads and to know that bridges are
safe--mostly not the conditions at present. We have to be willing to
pay to accomplish those goals through general taxes or user taxes.
There is no reason we can't have excellent roads and bridges. It has
to be taken out of the political realm. Transportation is not just
roads. It must include rail service and other alternatives where they
are feasible. Why continue to limp along on a 75% system when the cost
of doing it right is not that great proportionately spread over years
and then properly maintained?
A: (3) (7)
B: (6) (9) (6) (0) (4)
A: (3) (7)
Part B: (0) (5) (10) (0) (0)
Question 6: I would humbly accept the challenge.
A: (3) (9)
Part B: (4) (9) (8) (4) (5)
Transportation Policy for Minnesota
**Transportation, land use, metro-centered economies, and state &
local fiscal arrangements comprise a single system.
** The state of Minnesota can be usefully understood as a mosaic
of urban-centered regional economies, each composed of a major job
center plus adjacent counties and local units of government that are
more closely linked to that center--by means of daily
employment/school attendance flows--than to other nearby centers.
** Just as there is (A) a hierarchy of urban/metro centers--from (1)
the Twin Cities, down to the (2) Duluths, Rochesters, and Mankatos,
down to the (3) Marshalls, Thief River Falls and Grand Rapids, down to
the (4) New Richlands and Morrises, etc.--there has been (B) a
hierarchy of road networks serving these centers: (1) Interstate
highways designed to link metro to metro; (2) U.S. highways designed
to link big city to big city; (3) state highways ("farm to market
roads") designed to link cities with their nearby trade areas; (4)
county roads for local circulation within counties; (5) township roads
for rural neighborhoods feeding county roads and highways; and (6)
city streets for local needs within municipalities.
** MnDOT's state highway transportation plan defines 50 "regional
centers" and has developed their highway plan to meet the needs of
those centers, paying attention to how Minnesota's roads link with
those of adjacent states and those serving wider regions. MnDOT has
created and reinforced the statewide framework within which
lower-level, locally based road systems have attached themselves.
** The multiplicity of overlapping governments in Minnesota raises
serious obstacles to coordinating transportation planning--both for
present needs, and for long-range strategic positioning looking ahead
to, say, 2030. Minnesota has 854 cities, 87 counties, 786 townships,
over 500 school districts, plus other special districts like the Met
Council-over 2,200 governments for a state of 5 million. In the
long-range scenario, airports and rail-based systems deserve more
prominence, but MnDOT has been and is today essentially a highway
department. That orientation should change to improve the state's
competitiveness in the year ahead. Minnesota needs a serious forward
looking, comprehensive "Department of Transportation" with expanded
authority and jurisdiction.
** Most (but not all) of the value-added from goods and services
production in Minnesota's regional economies occurs in and near the
state's urban centers. Cities and counties struggle to deliver local
transportation and other services wanted and needed by local
businesses and households, but there is a disconnect between the
sources of revenues available to provide the services and the
beneficiaries of those services, i.e., beneficiaries want benefits but
want others to pay for them. This gap is compounded by heavy local
reliance on property taxes to pay for transportation, along with the
belief on the part of many that manipulating transportation systems
can endow specific places, sites, locales with improved accessibility,
which will enhance the taxable value of those places, which will then
provide local taxing jurisdictions with extra revenues to pay not only
for the transportation improvements but also to provide additional net
revenue for other purposes.
** Options #2 and #3 seem most likely to work and to get the job done
between now and 2030. The present Twin Cities commuting field (by our
research) comprises 25 counties (including 4 in WI) based on 2000
Census commuting data. Both MnDOT and Met Council are state
agencies. If Met Council were responsible for planning in the 21
counties, and MnDot for the remaining 66 MN counties, and both
agencies were obligated to coordinate their work, it would mean an
improvement over present arrangements as I understand them. This
would not require changing the legal basis of the Met Council, but
rather would require it to work in partnership with MnDOT for the
purposes of long-range transportation planning. Each lower level of
government would be obligated to conform their local road and land use
planning with the larger, statewide plan according to a state-based
"A-95 authority-like" rule. And the planning would include all the
major transportation systems-roads, rail, airports, and water. I
don't know enough about pipelines.
** The job of the Met Council would be enormously eased IF the
legislature authorized the full-fledged use of "Development Impact
Fees" at the county and municipal levels. Were the legislature to do
so, it would drastically reduce the need to accommodate heavily
subsidized growth on the edges of existing regional centers and the
Twin Cities, and would redirect emphasis toward filling in and
redeveloping existing urbanized land. Were that to happen, there
would be a major shift over the long term from building new
facilities to maintaining and improving existing facilities.
A: (0) (10)
B: (0) (10) (0) (5) (0)
A: (2) (8)
B: (10) (2) (7) (2) (10)
In spite of the
political headwinds, a constitutional amendment to remove dedicated
funding represents the best model of governance.
I can't think of a
compelling reason to exclude air transportation from a comprehensive
state transportation plan. The availability of common carrier air
transportation is important to quality of life and the economic
development of many rural communities that are distal to the metro air
I don't recall any
description or discussion about how other states are handling
transportation issues. But with 47 states having to wrestle with most
if not all of the problems we face, I would think that a look at the
ways in which they are addressing these issues, and some appraisal of
how well they are doing, would be instructive.
A: (_) (8)
B: (6) (8) (4) (0) (0)
A: (1) (5)
B: (0) (2) (0) (0) (9)
Note that only 3%
of our state population uses mass transit.
I support a free
market approach to transit.
determine how many people rely on transit for medical or economic
reasons, and they should ride for free...a public good.
The rest of
operating expenses should be made up at the fair box.
determine the right sized transit system.
A: (2) (7)
B: (2) (7) (4) (7) (7)
We need a
commission to work out the needs for both metro & outstate based on
where the revenue comes from. It costs a lot more to maintain and
improve roads in the metro area vs outstate. It seems the money is
split based on miles.
A: (0) (10)
B: (6) (7) (5) (4) (10)
Question 1: Not a
bad option, but the governors don’t seem to want that ball.
Question 2: No
enthusiasm here, either, but I suppose MnDOT would do it if
Question 3: This
might be the best option (and the way it might eventually work out),
but it would be a hard sell.
Question 4: Some
existing entity ought to be able to do it.
Question 5: I
would love this, but nobody else would. Fuggetaboudit.
A: (0) (10)
B: (0) (0) (0) (10) (0)
Question 6: (10)
Require transit fares to equal a minimum of 45% of the operating and
maintenance costs for premium transit service and return of investment
in 30 years. Use local gas taxes to pay for local roads. It is time
to consider toll roads in Minnesota.
A: (2) (9)
B: (5) (7) (8) (_) (0)
A gas tax
increase is an imperative.