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 Response Page - Robert McFarlin Interview - Congestion, Transit, Metropolitan Council   

These comments are responses to the questions listed below,
which were generated in regard to the
Robert McFarlin Interview of

The questions:

1. _6.4 average____ On a scale of (0) strongly disagree, to (5) neutral, to (10) strongly
agree, what is the extent of your agreement with McFarlin that other factors,
not relieving congestion, are the main reasons for light rail transit?

2. _7.8 average____ On a scale of (0) strongly disagree, to (5) neutral, to (10) strongly
agree, should the geographic responsibility of the Metropolitan Council for
transportation policy be enlarged beyond seven counties currently in its
jurisdiction to the entire urban commuter region of 11 or more counties?

Ray Schmitz (5) (10)
It is difficult to reconcile this comment with the earlier comment from the Met Council Head that, for example, buses could not meet the needs of the Central Corridor due to space limitations.

Seems as if the issue is more than just transportation, sprawl is the problem and that needs to be solved on an area wide basis.

Jim Weaver (8) (1)

Charles Lutz
(9) (10)

Steve Alderson (10) (5)
McFarlin gave you a clear and honest picture of MNDOT and its current transit versus highway planning situation. He and others are to be congratulated for not letting a negative press and an inconsistent legislature get to them. Chiglo is a good example of a future leader. I hope he stays with the Department.

Wayne Jennings (4) (7)

Glenn Dorfman (8) (2)
If it is determined that the Metropolitan Council is a layer of Government that is necessary in the first place. It seems to me that it is hard to have a "comprehensive, coordinated, transportation policy" when there are so many governmental units with very different priorities involved.

Paul Hauge (5) (9)

Scott Halstead (0) (10)
The entire metropolitan government issue needs to be addressed to include all of the roles and responsibilities, makeup of the Metropolitan Council and the airport.

Connie Morrison (9) (8)
Light rail is probably less polluting than buses, but I still believe that we need a less expensive and more available form of mass transit than we have now, and buses are a faster, less expensive solution.

Dan Loritz (2) (_)
Regarding second question: for transit - not for highways. However require coordination with MDOT.

John Adams (8) (5)
Transportation and land use planning need to be integrated within a 40-50 year planning horizon. This area will continue to grow. ** The regional planning concept for the metro area as originally envisioned, focusing on long-range planning of transportation, land use, open space, and environmental protection of fragile areas that led to the creation of the Met Council, has not been well supported in recent years. ** Local land use planning at the municipal scale was intended to be aligned with emerging regional systems that were planned and deployed for a region that was growing and spreading out. **When the Met Council lost its A-95 authority, its control over local land use planning was seriously impaired. **When we entered the no-new-taxes era beginning in the 1980s, stresses on the state budget were shifted to local property taxes in ways that undermined Met Council authority for a different set of complex reasons. ** As new duties (e.g., fair-share housing) were added to the Met Council agenda, and the long-range planning function was gradually eliminated, early lessons were forgotten and attention to Met Council affairs got caught up in local political squabbles with little help from the Governor's Office. **Recent state and local budget crunches magnify local fiscal stresses as state responsibilities are pushed down to local governments, leading to a drawing down of infrastructure capital as more and more private and public interests and newcomers try to obtain services that they are unwilling to pay for. **The current MOA effort to divert fiscal disparities revenues to a private commercial enterprise (at the expense of existing competing commercial enterprises) is bad policy and awful precedent from several points of view. **With regard to the questions put to McFarlin, transportation systems and land use systems should be planned, deployed, and managed within a 40-50 year planning horizon, and beneficiaries need to pay the price for the services that they receive. ** Effective planning and management of the Twin Cities area help make the area attractive for people and businesses--but newcomers should pay for what they get, otherwise the value of the place and its attractiveness will decline. This is already happening, and has been happening since the 1980s. ** As the local population gets older, the option of driving in private cars needs to be supplemented by transit and housing options that do not depend on private cars. But transit systems can't be built and financed overnight. That's the argument for serious long-range planning, which until now has been opposed by our legislature and by a series of governors. ** We can build up the area, or wear it down. Recently our choice has been the latter, despite some heroic efforts to clarify the costs and benefits of various options and to reverse present trends. Alas!

Bright Dornblaser (4) (10)

Jim Olson (10) (10)

Greer Lockhart (0) (10)
There are many reasons for light rail and relief of congestion is one of them. Anyone who opts to travel by rail rather than by car takes one car off the road, and to the extent the road is congested the road will be one car less congested.

Roger Heegaard (7) (9)

Carolyn Ring (10) (?)
This is a tough one. How far do we go St. Cloud to Rochester? How far East/West? I am not familiar with what 11 counties are being considered.

David Broden (10) (10)
I concur very strongly that light rail is a broad based transportation
capability with congestion relief one of the lesser direct benefits. The use of light rail to move people to and from jobs, to do family activities, and to provide transportation for those who may not have other transportation is a critical need as well as congestion relief--it also allows flexibility once one is at a location--or it will as we expand the system in the metro areas. As it evolves to provide lines from suburb to suburb etc. it will have greater utility etc.

Yes, any movement of people to and from the metro area no matter how the metro area is defined must be a total coordinated approach. As the metro area grows there must be flexibility in how the metro council is defined, its jurisdiction and how it operates. These functions should also separate the policy or oversight/guidelines governance from the day to day operation or all will get bogged down in detail vs. what is really the need --that of providing efficient transportation options to the total population. By expanding to 11 and later more counties this focus can be maintained.

Lyall Schwarzkopf (7) (9)



The Civic Caucus   is a non-partisan, tax-exempt educational organization.   The Core participants include persons of varying political persuasions, reflecting years of leadership in politics and business. Click here  to see a short personal background of each.

   Verne C. Johnson, chair;  Lee Canning,  Charles Clay, Bill Frenzel, 
Paul Gilje,  Jim Hetland,  John Mooty,  Jim Olson,  Wayne Popham  and  John Rollwagen.  

The Civic Caucus, 01-01-2008
8301 Creekside Circle #920,   Bloomington, MN 55437.
Verne C. Johnson, chair, 952-835-4549,       Paul A. Gilje, coordinator, 952-890-5220.

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