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Friday, March 10, 2017

Why One Body (MNDOT) to Run State Transportation Planning Would be Best for MN Taxpayers

Washington County resident Linda Stanton's testimony in support of HF2000/ SF1822. Photos from Washington County Watchdog and not part of the original testimony.

As a taxpayer and citizen I am writing to say how frustrated I am to see unrealistic policies and plans carried out using our hard-earned dollars by the MET Council (MC). For instance, the Gateway Corridor/Gold Line, a planned EBRT (Exclusive guide way Bus Rapid Transit) to extend into Oakdale and Woodbury, where there is little or no regular bus service at present. To go from nothing to “light rail on wheels” based on overblown growth projections is mis-guided at best. We already have a very successful Express Bus during rush hour, as well as, Metro Mobility and Transit Link.

The County takes our tax money and hires a lobbyist ($150,000 contract) to lobby the Legislature to push this taxpayer boondoggle. Our group is just VOTERS with no money to donate to campaigns, but enough to print fliers and time to come to the Legislature and try to make our case.

Gateway Corridor vs Metro Transit: 

How State's $9 million Route Upgrade 

Could Replace the Gateway Corridor

When a person tries to talk to the County or City officials about wasting our dollars on a $420 Million dollar project one gets lost in a maze of money pots – Federal, County, Railroad etc. etc. That’s when I start to pull my hair because it’s ALL OUR tax money. I don’t care what POT it comes from! Transit could be improved at much less cost by using existing roadways and a little creativity.

Not only that, the county officials and planners use our tax dollars to have expensive, up-to-date websites, videos, take trips around the country to see other transit lines, or check in with their transit partners in DC.

And all the while, we hear about bridges in dis-repair, highways with too many fatalities that have not been repaired in a timely fashion. To top it off, the County Transit Improvement Board (CTIB) and MC had the nerve to tell the Legislature:  the STATE will PAY for 50% of operating costs for the life of all transit lines, if CTIB disbands.

I am all in favor of having ONE body in control of the purse strings: the elected officials in our Legislature. It should be the elected Reps and Senators telling the Met Council and CTIB what we can afford, not the other way around.  The transfer of transportation planning from the MET Council to MN DOT by HF2000 would help taxpayers gain control over government spending.

Linda Stanton, Chair - Citizens for Smart Transit

related articles:
GOP Senate Passes $5.8 Billion Transportation Bill with $180 Million to Met Council & Mass Transit a Huge Raise