Dave's Legislative Summary (weeks of 3/23 and 3/30)
April 03, 2009
From Dave Van Hattum, TLC Program Manager
The Building Sensible Communities bill, (SF 549 (Dibble)/ HF 898(Hornstein) continues steady progress to a floor vote. The bill, which would direct Mn/DOT and the Met Council to establish a goal of reduced car travel and expanded use of transit, bicycle, walking and shorter trips (through more efficient land use), has majority approval in numerous policy committees. Next up is the Senate Transportation Finance Committee, and then hopefully on to the Finance, Tax and other committees with funding discretion.
Building Sensible Bridges SF 1484(Sieben)/ HF1484(Hornstein) Legislation to build bridges that are designed to accommodate bicycles and pedestrians has passed out of both the Senate and House Transportation Committees. This bill is a prelude to a more ambitious “Complete Streets” TLC legislative agenda (coming in 2010) following Mn/DOT’s completion of a study of “Complete Streets.”
Keep the Transit System Whole. Transit for Livable Communities continues to advocate for a long-term solution to the metro area transit operating deficit ($62 million over the next biennial). Two competing bills moved forward last week.
Legislation going through both the House and the Senate--SF 1276(Murphy)/HF1309 (Lieder)--would tap the sales tax on leased vehicles to address the operating deficit. Different legislation--SF 1610(Rest)/HF 1955(Holberg)--would allow the Met Council to temporarily transfer funding from its Livable Communities, brownfields cleanup, and affordable housing programs as a short-term fix to address the transit operating shortfall. I testified in opposition to this bill in the Senate Transportation Committee, noting that there are several other viable revenue sources (federal stimulus, regional property tax, MVST on Leased, etc) that should take precedence over de-funding important transit-related programs of the Met Council. In other words, we can do better than another accounting gimmick (and a looming fare increase and service reduction in 2010), when long-term solutions are needed.