These comments are responses
to the questions listed below,
which were generated in regard to the
Interview of 05-23-08.
1. _7.7 average___ On a scale of (0)
strong disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) strong agreement, what is
your view on whether suburb-to-downtown transit is receiving more
emphasis than suburb-to-suburb transit, regardless of congestion
2. _7.4 average___ On a scale of (0)
strong disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) strong agreement, what is
your view on whether substantially more dollars are needed for
transportation in Minnesota, beyond what was provided by the 2008
Bob Brown (7) (5)
I don't think we should pour substantially more money into
transportation until there is some kind of coherent statewide planning
for transportation and its relationship with other governmental
functions and activities. Spending without sufficient planning can be
wasteful and merely enrich certain special interest groups at the
expense of the public.
Charles Lutz (9) (9)
John R. Finnegan, Sr. (3) (10)
It is clear to me that more attention must be given to
suburb-to-suburb transit once the metro area gets sufficient transit
lines. It also is obvious to me that more money for transportation in
Minnesota is essential. Many of our roads are in terrible shape and
our transit needs require more cash.
Joe Lampe (10) (10)
Robert A. Freeman (5) (3)
I'm neutral on Question 1 (5 out of 10) and slightly disagree (3 out
of 10) that more dollars are needed - more dollars are always
"needed", it is a question of prioritizing how the state spends its
I don't have any other comments on this save that it should also be
recognized that at some point there is a diminishing return on plowing
more dollars into transportation funding.
These updates are hugely useful to me in helping me understand policy
arguments and I very much appreciate receiving them.
Elaine Voss (9) (10)
When in the Secretary of State Office I worked with Conrad deFiebre
often. He was always fair and accessible to following news items from
election matters to State Board of Investment information. He is a
strong member of the community of interests in providing access and
looking for solutions for the problems we, as a community, face. You
are providing a real service for this community as a whole. Thank you.
Clarence Shallbetter (10) (8)
More dollars are needed but they should largely come from users and
those who benefit from the investments, not the general taxpayers, ie.
those who pay sales taxes, income taxes and property taxes for
facilities that do more than access property.
Dennis Johnson (8) (2)
Ed Dirkswager (10) (7)
The only way we are going to solve the financial problem for highways
is to index the gas tax. If the Legislature only had courage enough to
first set the tax high enough as they did in 1988. At least the gas
tax now, at a minimum, ought to be where it would have been if we had
indexed it in 1988. My highest is where it would have been if we
raised it to 20 cents in 1982, my last year as Governor. Do the math.
Scott Halstead (10) (10)
There isn't hardly any suburb to suburb transit and there are minimal
plans. The present county financing system minimizes broad transit
plans and funding. Hennepin and Ramsey County will dominate rail
transit until the other metro counties populations grow to exceed
Ramsey County. A single lane of 494/694 and 35E/W should be congestion
priced and reserved for transit and car pools. Buses not needed for
the Central Corridor could be utilized on the new routes and as
circulators along the freeways. Park and rides should be constructed
or contracts made with firms that have excess parking facilities.
Carolyn Ring (_) (3)
All of a sudden street cars disappeared with little discussion or
planning . Now "mass transit" is the buzz word. Let's do a thorough,
extensive, comprehensive analysis before we do a piece meal job to
satisfy different interests. Money is not the answer to everything!
Paul Hauge (7) (9)
Bill Frenzel (8) (8)
Donna Anderson (6) (8)
David Broden (8) (5)
The information and communication to the public certainly suggests
almost total emphasis on the suburb to downtown transit and almost
none suburb to suburb. This likely reflects reality in the planning
communities as well. This is a unfortunate issue because as the
comments below state the transit needs to move workers to locations
and material to/form businesses in clearly in the exterior areas. The
need for suburb to suburb transit should begin with a well defined
communication and statement from state and regional leaders making it
clear to the citizens that this must be part of the solution and
activity. For the transit and road issue to move in a positive
direction the elected officials must show responsiveness to the
overall issue and then act accordingly--clearly some of the resistance
to more funding or transit in general is the location of the plans in
focus. As we broaden the vision the public will see greater value and
come forward to be supporters. Minnesota has a record of effective
regional and statewide acceptance of well defined solutions but in
this case the message has not been established and the even discussion
of a plan or partial suburb to suburb link seems to be missing.
Perhaps the only things close are the North train and talk of a train
from Red Wing/Hastings to St.
Paul--these while suburb to downtown also do have a suburb to suburb
link in some respects. Now we need thoughts of how to connect Maple
Grove with Bloomington, and perhaps Woodbury with Roseville and north
to Forest Lake etc. That leaves Woodbury to Eagan and Burnsville to
Shakopee etc. Bottom line lets get the suburb to suburb transit info
into the discussion and debate. Solutions and action will follow by
reasonable people working a visible concern. By the above I do not
suggest that suburb to downtown should be dropped or changes only that
there is a what I will call a critical need to effectively articulate
that the transit problems of our area include both and both are
getting the attention. This should not fuel we--they debate but a Us
I find it hard to believe that anyone would not agree that more money
could be used. The issue however is not funding or money but how to
use it effectively. Just gathering funds with a clear purpose gets no
where if however a well defined vision of change in transit and need
for infrastructure upgrade is defined then the process can work. A
balanced approach is thus needed.
Lyall Schwarzkopf (7) (6)
Greer Lockhart (5) (10)
Matt Kane (9) (10)
Suburban to downtown transit is receiving more attention, but that
makes sense given the factors necessary for successful transit. As a
general rule, transit succeeds when the destination point is one with
a high concentration of jobs and one where parking fees are imposed.
Suburban job locations, even where they are concentrated, generally
fall short of the density needed for viable transit service. This is
clear in data from the Met Council, which shows that the jobs counts
and density are as follows for several concentrations in the Twin
Cities area: 1) Mpls downtown jobs = 139,500 for jobs per acre of 78;
St. Paul downtown jobs = 64,000 (not counting government jobs because
unemployment insurance database is used), for jobs per acre of 63; and
3) I-494 Golden Triangle (triangle of land between Interstate 494 and
highways 212 and 169) jobs = 49,000, for jobs per acre of 10. It's not
for lack of awareness that the Met Council and Metro Transit have not
focused on the increasing trend toward suburb-to-suburb travel, but
rather because of the operational difficulties of establishing
cost-effective transit service in areas of low job densities. Probably
worth noting, too, that transit service within densely developed areas
-- the central cities and close-in suburbs -- also gets more attention
for similar reasons: the density of the potential population of riders
greatly affects the viability of transit services.
It's worth noting that prior to passage of the 2008 transportation
package, Minnesota's Transportation Department noted that projected
state transportation funding would fall almost $23 billion short of
what's needed to meet key performance standards through 2030.
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.