Poll: Minnesotans Want Transportation Options Beyond Roads
Monday, March 20, 2023
A Minnesota bill could surface as early as this week, calling for a proposed tax increase to fund transportation needs.
Advocates and local government leaders hope lawmakers hear calls from the public to offer a range of options for residents to get around.
Transportation remains one of the issues still being debated in the current legislative session.
Sam Rockwell, executives director of the group Move Minnesota, said its recent polling indicates a majority of Minnesotans want to see more flexibility in how transit funds are spent.
"We saw 66% of Minnesotans," said Rockwell, "supporting shifting funding to support biking, walking and transit."
About 55% said they would support a regional sales tax to fund metro-area transit improvements. That's one of the recommendations from Rockwell's group to boost options.
While Democrats control the Legislature and the governor's office, it's unclear how transportation funding will come together. Republicans blocked a bonding bill, which included money for things such as walking trails, citing the need for tax relief first.
Bloomington City Council Member Patrick Martin said providing more efficient and accessible transportation options can help in a variety of ways, including helping business corridors.
"The development possibilities it opens up," said Martin, "knowing, you can say, reduced parking because there's reliable transportation nearby."
Nearly one third of Minnesotans said they would be more likely to use buses and trains if there were greater access in their neighborhoods.
Rockwell suggested that following up on that demand could help reduce emissions and personal budgets, because people wouldn't have to rely on cars as much.
"Being able to rely on your feet, on a bicycle, on the bus and the train," said Rockwell, "brings those transportation costs down."
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