Sen. Dibble says he's confident comprehensive transit bill can finally get done this session

DibbleNew.jpg
Dibble: "These aren't just dollars going out, they're dollars that come back in terms of peoples' ability to get better jobs, to grow jobs in the state and metro."
Sen. Scott Dibble, D-Minneapolis, is optimistic this legislative session will finally be the one where a comprehensive transportation bill is approved and signed into law.

SEE ALSO: Check out this awesome time-lapse tour of the Central Corridor [VIDEO]

A bill of that sort made it out of the Senate last year, but the House rejected the five cent gas tax increase it contained. But Dibble told City Pages the efforts of the burgeoning Move MN coalition gives him confidence the House (and Governor Dayton) may be more amenable to a robust transportation funding bill this time around.

Move MN describes itself as "a growing, diverse coalition of community organizations, businesses, and elected officials dedicated to starting to erase Minnesota's transportation deficit by requiring our current funding be more transparent and securing a comprehensive transportation funding package during the 2014 legislative session."

Dibble, the transportation committee's chair, told us his understanding is that within the next few weeks, Move MN plans to double the number of groups involved in its effort from roughly 100 to 200 in order to ramp up pressure on legislators just in time for the upcoming session.

"We're now starting to go beyond the usual realms of contractors and various government engineers and the transit and environmental advocates" that typically support transit projects, Dibble said. "Labor is starting to get much more active. The state Chamber [of Commerce] still has a ways to go, though local and regional [chapters] are really supportive."

Asked about what projects he'd like to see funded in particular, Dibble began by saying, "Southwest LRT is extremely important."

"On the east side of the metro there is this I-94 gateway corridor, either LRT or bus rapid transit, that would run from the east metro to St. Paul and by extension to Minneapolis. It's also important to take the next step in terms of planning work in the Bottineau [Corridor] up to the northwest part of the metro," Dibble continued. Another priority "is a second Amtrak train from Chicago coming in on a daily basis to the Union Depot."

Dibble also said he envisions funding for outstate projects being an important part of this session's bonding bill.

A transportation bill that goes beyond the bare-bones "lights on" version ultimately approved last year is long overdue, Dibble argued.

(For more, click to page two.)

My Voice Nation Help
12 comments
ผึ้ง ฝนตก เพ้อ
ผึ้ง ฝนตก เพ้อ

Actually it makes for people who are low on income such as students being able to transport from different connections throughout the city to be able to be more accessible. I am dependable on the transit system to get to school and work. I'm sorry that you guys feel this way, because your corporate jobs pays you enough for you to afford a car and insurance. However, not everyone is fortunate enough to obtain those things.

midwestexplorer81
midwestexplorer81 topcommenter

Gas taxes should be strictly for roads Mr. Dibble.  Passenger trains don't help goods get to me so I shouldn't have to pay for them. Somebody living in say Biwabik shouldn't have to pay for metro light rail lines. Let the cities these light rail lines pass through pay for the projects themselves. If these trains are so great they'll make their money back in no time.

Mike McLean
Mike McLean

Comprehensive tranit bill - translated means more of our money spent on transportation that not enough people ride to even begin to pay for it. All of this determined by the Metro Council who are trying to force people to move downtown and live in very high density housing

David Gustafson
David Gustafson

Excellent. We need alternatives to our evermore-crowded, non-expandable freeway system. Buses and cars just aren't getting the job done.

matt1208
matt1208

@midwestexplorer81 Gas taxes are currently constitutionally dedicated to roads, and Sen. Dibble is not proposing a constitutional amendment. Strawman, anyone?

cecc0011
cecc0011

All road user fees only account for 46% of direct road spending (not including things like public parking ramps, indirect, and environmental costs.  And plenty of people use roads, so what gives?  We're on a downward trajectory of travel, car preference, and gov't ability to maintain such an expensive network of roads.  Building more isn't the answer - and where congestion exists there are plenty of alternative, cheaper answers (such as road pricing).  

In the meantime, better (read: more free market and less subsidized through billions in road spending) land-use practices paired with transit investments will respond to a market demand (I've never seen the Met Council force any renter or developer at gunpoint to live in/build all this "very high" density housing) for living closer to daily amenities and jobs.  This can allow driving less or ditching one of 2 family cars in lieu of walking, biking, and taking transit, easing one of the highest cost centers middle and low income families incur.  A couple large transit projects balanced by low-cost, high-return ones (arterial BRT, protected bikeways on streets when they're re-paved, dedicated lanes to transit, increasing bus stop spacing, and better transit system legibility) can all increase ridership at fixed (more or less) operational costs, improving financial return.


kurt124
kurt124 topcommenter

@matt1208@midwestexplorer81
Why then, was there a gas tax in the rejected bill?  Could it be that money is fungible?  Cause that's never happened before, right?

midwestexplorer81
midwestexplorer81 topcommenter

@matt1208, I actually was not aware of that amendment. The article mentions a gas tax increase being rejected in the past so I was assuming Dibble wanted that for his rail dreams. 

kurt124
kurt124 topcommenter

@cecc0011Your comparison is bogus since Car ownership is up in minnesota.  Car ownership is up big-time so we do have a market for it.  You just have to build out as opposed to build up.   We are not going to build upwards, as much as we can outwards (as we have been doing since suburbs came into existence).   The market will allow for this as there is enough land.   In fact that's whats happening now and has been since the 50's.   Take a close look at the population/demographics.   Mpls is not growing and the suburbs are, contrary to popular thought or meme. 

kurt124
kurt124 topcommenter

@cecc0011Besides, i like to drive and love my car, most people do.   You can always move to NY if you want density.     See not everyone believes that individual freedom need to be compromised on the false narrative that we are destroying the earth.  

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...