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Minnesota's Transportation Troubles on the Table for 2015

PHOTO: Polling shows a majority of Minnesotans want funding for pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure included when lawmakers consider a transportation package in the 2015 Legislature.  Photo credit: Kristin Nador/Flickr.
PHOTO: Polling shows a majority of Minnesotans want funding for pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure included when lawmakers consider a transportation package in the 2015 Legislature. Photo credit: Kristin Nador/Flickr.
November 17, 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn. - A new two-year budget will be at the top of the agenda when Minnesota lawmakers reconvene in a few months, but another key target for the session will be transportation. Legislation to be introduced in 2015 will focus on improving the state's crumbling roads and aging bridges.

Erik Petzel, spokesperson with Minnesotans for Healthy Kids Coalition, says it's also critical that any package incorporate the needs of pedestrians and bicyclists.

"We see the built environment as having a tremendous impact on how much physical activity people get," says Petzel. "So we're interested in supporting pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure that makes those transportation modes a real option for individuals."

A new poll from the coalition shows that sentiment is widely shared, with 65 percent of Minnesotans favoring a road and transportation package that includes additional funding for pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure.

The survey also found the main reason for the strong support is because an increasing number of people are getting around on foot and by bike in both urban and rural settings. Jodi Gertken, BLEND Project Coordinator with the CentraCare Health Foundation explains.

"What this poll actually shows us is what many of us in Greater Minnesota have long believed," Gertken says. "It's really emphasizing that Minnesotans, no matter where we live, whether a community of 2,000 or 200,000, understand the benefits of walking or bicycling."

The greatest needs for related improvements in communities include street crossings and intersections, lighting and additional sidewalks, trails and bike lanes.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN