Star Tribune, October 26, 2015
Contrary to editorial’s assertion, there’s support throughout state
I recently read the Oct. 7 editorial “Some states ramp up transportation funding,” and I am disappointed with the characterization that Greater Minnesota does not support transportation investments.
I live in an area of the state that has seen tragic human losses due to unsafe roads. We are also experiencing significant economic growth in industry. Agriculture, the economic engine of Greater Minnesota, has a $75 billion impact on Minnesota’s economy and is dependent on good roads to get product to market. At the same time, more people in Greater Minnesota need to commute to jobs in our regional centers.
Transportation and infrastructure investments benefit all Minnesotans, by supporting our economy and connecting communities and families. Greater Mankato Growth, the equivalent of the local Chamber of Commerce in the Mankato area, has been a vocal advocate for new transportation funding. Likewise, the Free Press of Mankato has presented a steady drumbeat in favor of new funding.
Last session, the nonpartisan and well-respected House Research department did an analysis of our major transportation funding sources and found that revenue is evenly generated throughout the metro area and Greater Minnesota.
It is true that the statewide Chamber of Commerce has opposed many types of transportation funding, but they don’t speak for my community, and I know they don’t speak for me. For this upcoming legislative session, we need to move a long-term, comprehensive transportation plan forward with constitutionally dedicated funding. Anything less should be considered a failure by policymakers and would be a disservice to all of Minnesota.
State Rep. Clark Johnson, DFL-North Mankato