average____ 1. On a scale of (0) very negative, to (5)
neutral, to (10) very positive, what is your view on whether longer
and heavier trucks, allowed in some states, should be allowed in
average____ 2. On a scale of (0) very negative, to (5)
neutral, to (10) very positive, what is your view on whether road user
taxes should be changed so that heavier vehicles pay more?
average____ 3. On a scale of (0) very negative, to (5)
neutral, to (10) very positive, what is your view whether
freight-oriented rail lines in Minnesota should make room for
passenger-oriented high-speed rail, commuter rail, and LRT?
average____ 4. On a scale of (0) very negative, to (5)
neutral, to (10) very positive, what is your view on the need to
improve freight opportunities (truck or rail) in rural Minnesota?
This was an
interesting discussion, but left me unable to answer the questions.
Is the transportation planning by the Minnesota Department of
Transportation adequate to the needs of the Minnesota? And why
haven't we indexed the gas tax?
Hamm (7) (6) (1) (10)
Question 1. I have
no problem with these heavier trucks on roads adequate for them such
as the Interstate system.
Question 2. I
tend to prefer that they pay by weight but distance may also work
sufficiently. Need to see some figures.
Question 3. I
absolutely oppose subsidizing failure and stupidity. The astounding
costs of establishing, operation, and maintaining commuter rail are
clear and outrageous yet we continue to pour money down this rat hole.
Anything that goes on rail has to have the weight to stay on that
rail, if we went to a monorail system for passenger service it would
be forced to become as light as possible which would greatly decrease
operation costs as well as maintenance costs. Monorail would have very
little impact on ground traffic, it would eliminate collisions with
auto's and animals and be far more eco-friendly. Let's think smart
here not stupid.
Question 4. The
plain fact is that this is to a great extent how our city neighbors
are undermining rural ability to do any economic development in favor
of their efforts to turn much of rural Minnesota into their private
playground. By undermining infrastructure they create the self
fulfilling prophecy of failure that forces us off our land and out of
rural areas to find work and provide for our needs.
Swenson (0) (0) (0) (10)
Martin (0) (2) (0) (5)
Given the level of
wear and tear, I do not feel that we should be enlarging either the
length or weight of trucks. I believe we should continue to regulate
the trucks with licensing and weight regulations/stations. I do not
feel that rail freight should vacate lines to passenger service; this
would only put more trucks on the road. I am not aware of this need; I
feel that transportation should/is a consideration of locating rural
sites; are we building ethanol plants and then worrying about
transportation after the fact or assuming that this is a state
David Dillon (10)
(10) (5) (5)
Bert Press (0)
(10) (10) (5)
Chuck Slocum (5)
(10) (10) (5)
We need a
public-private, comprehensive transportation plan for Minnesota. I
believe we undoubtedly require additional investments into Minnesota’s
transportation system, but only if there are strategic and cost
effective markets for the goods and people to transport. Allowing
heavier trucks without having the required roadways and building
additional capacity in the rural areas without having the necessary
goods and services to ship are unwise strategies.
Asch (0) (10) (10) (8)
and Blythe Thompson (2) (8) (6) (7)
and Sharon Detert (0) (8) (6) (7)
Sandbo (1.5) (9) (7.5) (6)
An alternative to
individual cars, trucks needs to be encouraged, but individual cars,
trucks should not be eliminated. They need to be available but at a
higher cost for maintenance to roads, etc.
Heavier trucks means more work on roads - we should move to lighter
vehicles (including trucks and autos) .Railroads get the freight and
people as close to where they want to go as possible then light truck,
bus, auto should be used.
Question 2. We
should be discouraging heavier vehicles, since we (the people) need to
pay for the roads they drive on. Encourage rail.
Question 3. Long
range we need to move in this direction. Even though fossil fuel
probably be used less than currently projected if an alternative fuel
(electric, other) can be used.
Question 4. This
needs to be maintained, improved however it does should not be a huge
David Broden (10) (7) (7) (10)
Question 1: Minnesota must be friendly to interstate commerce and
not be the cause or excuse for companies or carriers not participating
in Minnesota. In the thrust to create jobs we need to be encouraging
the movement of products in and out of Minnesota in the most efficient
way. The longer and heavier truck is one clear signal that can be sent
to industry across the nation. Further as we look to expand trade with
Canada the movement to US from Canada and Canada to the US will
welcome Minnesota as a gateway. If we need some form of weight
compensation as a transportation tax levy to make this happen and
it extends to all weights to have some sort of charge by truck weight
this may be beneficial. As all states look for transportation revenue
something like this may be needed in all states or as a national levy
since most of these truck will be on interstates. Interstate commerce
must be considered as well as intrastate commerce.
Question 2: A weight based tax seems reasonable as discussed in
item 1 above. The use of a weight based criteria should however be
friendly to the industry not just another tax that suggests trucks go
Question 3: The use of existing rail routes for high speed passenger
routes should be the first consideration with the criteria that
freight and commerce takes precedence in the planning since the
freight drives commerce and jobs. The government and the public also
have to be educated that existing rail is privately owned trackage and
land and passenger routes and trains etc. will to some extent be
public. Focus must be building a very positive and strong private and
public understanding and partnership so that the freight and
passengers can coexist or when they cannot then alternates must be
considered. Cost of adapting freight lines to passengers must be
either public funded or private funded with public transportation
payback of some form. We cannot sacrifice the capacity, efficiency, or
timeliness of the freight traffic to move people over the same
lines--both need to work without conflict or impact.
Question 4: The response of 10 is that rural Minnesota must remain a
transportation focus for movement of agriculture products to and from
the rural area as well as a need to support current and
expanding manufacturing and related businesses. Whether there is an
immediate need or there is need for a vision of what and how to
achieve the improvement is an open question and will vary with the
area. There just simply needs to be a way to get products to and from
the rural (lets use the word outstate rather than rural). I will also
be firm that one of the causes of decline of the small and moderate
size towns and cities across Minnesota and the Upper Midwest is that
the efficiency and cost of getting products to the business has not
been cost effectively maintained and businesses as a result have
either not always had the products or had to pay too much to be
competitive and thus had to close. Transportation must be viewed as a
jobs and economic development enabler across Minnesota
and unfortunately for some this is not how the transportation vision
is evolving. The MnDOT and other focus on a total comprehensive plan
has the opportunity to address this if it is linked to quality of
life, education, jobs, and the business opportunities existing and
potential across Minnesota and linked to our neighboring states as
King (3) (9) (9) (_)
You can’t isolate
this discussion from economic competitiveness. Because of our
position in the north of the country and the configuration of existing
national transportation/distribution networks we need to do some
things to strengthen our competitive advantage. There was a proposal
to enhance MN competitiveness with regard to freight time/distance
several years back (MIRTS). It should be revisited.
Jacobson (5) (10 (5) (`10)
Anderson (2) (8) (10) (10)
Donald H. Anderson (4) (10) (8) (5)
Again it's a
problem of interstate vs. intrastate. The interstate system was
originally developed to move goods and people between states. Over
time it became a system of metropolitan movement. Now we are seeing
the conflicts of a dual system and another federal vs. state, and
metropolitan vs. rural road and rail networks. Someone has to pay for
the solutions - user vs. public, or, hopefully a compromise.
and Ruth Hauge (7) (9) (10) (9)
Lutz (5) (5) (9) (7)
Hennessey (5) (0) (5) (10)
Let's assume the
State has a duty to coordinate a transportation plan and maybe even
has the power to enforce it. This is a very suspect assumption, given
example after example where good intentions were mutated into
grotesque failure by politics, bickering, bribery and fraud.
Unfortunately this particular problem has a long history of
demagoguery and backroom politics, and it's like everything else
before it -- settlers vs. Indians, cowboys vs. shepherds, farmers vs.
ranchers, and once again truckers vs. railroads.
Question 1. This
totally depends on Minnesota's geography, of which I know little. In
general multi-trailer trucks do fine over flat terrain. You can't be a
roadblock along a route running through neighboring States if they
allow multi-trailer trucks and MN does not. They'll just go around
whenever they can. Everybody loses. On the other hand, long distance
trucking is the stupidest idea in the world. The natural medium for
long haul is the train, and the natural medium for short haul is the
truck. Imagine if the two were able to build on their strengths and
coordinate their activities.
Question 2. No,
you can't charge more for service you are not providing. Build
trucks-only highways and then you can charge for that.
The problem is
that in the US we simply do not build roads for durability. We build
roads for the benefit of the transportation departments, the
construction companies, and the politicians who take a hand in
awarding construction contracts. I took a sociology course once, in
which we studied the history of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, which, I
think, the first US "interstate" built on the model of the autobahn.
The bickering started immediately about every detail of the actual
construction, whether to build a truck lane, whether to charge by
weight, etc. In the end, they compromised and built a poor imitation
of an autobahn, and thereby set the model for the rest of the system.
The simple fact is that when Germans build a road, they dig a ditch 6
feet deep, and fill it with layers of rocks and other fill of
different grades and sizes to distribute the weight of the traffic,
and top it with 2 feet of reinforced concrete.
I constantly harp
on the theme of limiting government, at all levels, to specifically
defined powers. And this is just one example. More often than not, a
politician or a bureaucrat is a lawyer or some such, with no training
in anything practical like economics, engineering, medicine, science,
etc., etc., Yet they get off on imposing their will on people who did
bother to obtain education and gain experience in the fields they work
in, and they, the politicians and bureaucrats, corrupt the system by
making it clear that the way to get a contract is not by demonstrating
technical excellence but by making a contribution to the "right"
So if the State
assumes the responsibility to build and maintain a system of roads,
then they should build it as if they owned it. You would not build a
piece of junk if you knew you'd have to replace the whole thing every
few years or so. But you would if you could pass off the costs to
somebody else (the tax payers) and if you could use your power of
awarding contracts for political gain.
Question 3. What
manner of nonsense is this? Passenger trains are much lighter than
freight trains. Upgrading would come into consideration if we were
talking about upgrading passenger tracks to allow freight trains on
them. There may be only two reasons why freight tracks would have to
be upgraded. (1) The tracks are very old and uneven, and trains have
to proceed very slowly so as not to derail. (2) You might need more
sidings added so trains could pass each other safely.
But, assuming that
the tracks are in good enough shape to carry freight at reasonable
speeds, then dual use is a matter of scheduling, not upgrading.
Question 4. To the
extent that the State might actually live up to its claimed purpose of
making people's lives easier, then by all means, yes, eliminate legal
and regulatory obstacles and let isolated communities define and
obtain the transportation services appropriate to their needs.
As always, I am
confused by the assumptions implied in a question like this. In this
day and age UPS, FedEx and others of all sizes somehow manage to pick
up anywhere and deliver anywhere throughout the world, not just one
State. How do they do it? Do they rely on State coordination, support
Clarence Shallbetter (2) (10) (1) (4)
might be considered if most of the cost of building roads and bridges
to accommodate these weights were paid directly by these heavier
trucks. In this time of declining revenues to the general fund we need
to focus even more on paying for roads and all transportation services
including nearly all of transit from the users and those who benefit
from these facilities and services, not from general taxes used to pay
for education, health and welfare.
Before we pay the
railroads to use and improve their roadbeds, develop more
sophisticated signaling systems, and do more grade separation of the
rail bed and road crossings there needs to be a clear demonstration
that the proposed rail service will significantly reduce congestion on
the adjoining or nearby roadways and that the operating costs will be
entirely paid by the users or those who benefit from development
around stations. More work needs to be done on these questions than on
studies to determine where high speed rails or LRT can be built.
Not sure we know
where roads or freight rails are not adequately constructed or
available to handle known demand for freight movement.
and Ann Schluter (1) (9) (7) (7)
I feel we are
really missing out on not using the railroads for more long distance
freight. Europe uses freight trains much more than we do.
Heegaard (0) (10) (10) (_)
Carolyn Ring (8) (8) (6) (10)
is badly needed. As you travel the whole state you can almost see
where some of the most influential members of the Legislature have
expanded roads in their districts.
Spano (0) (10) (2) (7)
I am biased on the
subject of big trucks. Actually, I’m biased on most subjects but that
one particularly because I still work on the issue as a lobbyist for
TTX Corp., the organization which manufactures and manages all the
specialized rail cars, like those which carry truck containers and
those which carry automobiles. Like all University faculty, I’m
allowed to work a bit on outside consulting and TTX is one that I do.
We’re in the process of connecting with environmental organizations
and encouraging them to also oppose larger and heavier trucks,
especially at the federal level. There is a push by the trucking
industry to have bigger and heavier trucks allowed on the
interstates. We talk about the reality that when trucks are allowed
to become bigger and heavier you get more trucks, not less, and you
increase the carbon footprint of transportation. You get more trucks
because, by increasing load size you change the economics of shipping,
making truck shipping cheaper, and encouraging shippers to move from
rail to truck. At the federal level, this issue will come to a head
in the 2009 Transportation Authorization Bill, the 5-year
transportation plan which Congressman Oberstar’s committee is working
on. You might be interested in a paper I wrote about the subject a
year or so ago.
member questioned how much these lines are expected to reduce any
along Hwy 10 or other major highways." Answer: "There won't be real
The consultants' studies showed at best a few percentage points of
Fixing Hwy 10 would cost 2-3X more than the train, but it would
5X improvement in carrying capacity. Hwy 10 has to be upgraded anyway,
so the train is a complete waste of funds. Only being done because of
federal money. Less than zero cost effectiveness.
Lot's of good questions and info in your report. The industry guys are
subsidized interstate freight and people transport ought to be guided
from a national perspective on the federal level with standardization.
Publicly subsidized intrastate freight and human transport ought to be
decided by the state on a regional basis. Plans ought to be made for a
50 and 100 year future with 10 year mandatory reviews and updating.
Both the Legislature and MnDOT need to reform the way they plan and
Mansky (8) (10) (8) (7)
Cox (0) (10) (5) (10)
William Kuisle (2) (0) (2) (5)
Question 1: Not
until the bridges and roads are brought up to standards that can
Question 2: The
consumer is going to pay for it one way or the other. It is either
going to be in higher taxes on fuel the consumer burns or higher
prices that are passed on in products due to fuel taxes in
transporting them. It is better the consumer sees taxes and know the
costs when they pay the taxes themselves.
very expensive and heavily subsidized.
Question 4: It is
a business and the government should stay out of it.
Malcolm McLean (3) (2) (8) (6)
Halstead (0) (10) (_) (10)
High speed rail should be 200+ miles per hour and requires exclusive
rail lines. A 4-5 hour train ride to Chicago is not high speed.
Commuter rail and LRT should utilize abandoned or underutilized rail
lines. The State of Minnesota wasted $317 million dollars to carry an
estimated 2,000 riders per day between Big Lake and Minneapolis on the
busiest rail line in the state with minimal opportunity to increase
capacity. Can any transit planners in this state perform a total
My experience in Vietnam unloading and backloading ships including
containerized ships and regular cargo vessels made me a firm believer
in containerization, piggybacking on rail to/from regional rail/truck
centers (outside the major cities). The excellent rail management
systems can move freight at near the same speed as trucks at much
lower cost and the trucks can more effectively move freight regionally
and locally. The Twin Cities should consider freight (everything
except small package pickup and delivery) overnight to maximize
efficiency, reduce cost and help with road congestion.
Marianne Curry (0) (10) (5) (5)
Gaston (5) (10) (10) (10)
Stone (8) (5) (5) (8)
Question 1: This
issue is typically presented as a simple pass-through issue, i.e.,
should we let longer trucks and trailer assemblies pass through
Minnesota. Legalizing such trucks, however, will foster terminals; and
Minnesota will become both and originator and a destination terminal
for such commerce.
Question 2: The
two enemies of Minnesota highways are frequent freeze/thaw cycles and
the synergic effect of high-weight (high inertial) impact from
high-speed trucks. The question can be construed to ask whether
heavier vehicles should pay more than lighter vehicles; or whether
they should pay more than they are paying now. My response is to the
former because I lack any data whatsoever to support the latter.
Question 4: The
maintenance/development of rural cargo capacity is critical to a
vital, diverse and traditional Minnesota high quality rural life
style. I support it with enthusiasm. The idea runs contrary, however,
to the work and ideology of social planning enthusiasts, Smart Growth
gurus, Sustainable Development proponents and Agenda 21 adherents.
These folks support the efficient delivery of communal services, the
effective control of human transportation behavior and the removal of
human activity from environmentally sensitive areas. This means that
people should live in cities. A low-density population (achieved
through downzoning) is tolerated on arable land and all other land is
to be returned to the reference condition; defined as “little
or no anthropogenic perturbation”. Production and cargo transport
outside high-density metropolitan areas run contrary to this entire
Swain (3) (8) (5) (5)
Eklund (8) (8) (9) (5)
Nowicki (0) (7) (7) (5)
Scherer (5) (5) (0) (10)