Capitol Update

On Monday, September 24th, I attended the Transportation Finance Advisory Committee (TFAC) in St. Paul. As I had explained in earlier columns, TFAC is a group of individuals who are exploring innovative funding solutions for the future of Minnesota’s transportation system. At the meeting we heard public comments from a host of transportation related groups. Included were the Minnesota Transportation Alliance, the Minnesota Trucking Association, the Suburban Transit Association, the Minnesota Public Transit Association, Transit for Livable Communities and Fresh Energy. These groups and their members represent a broad spectrum of interests ranging from the movement of goods and services to the movement of people – throughout Greater Minnesota and the metropolitan areas of Minnesota.

Other topics discussed at the meeting included the projected transportation funding gap, current funding mechanisms and projected revenues over the course of the next twenty years. Modes of transportation that the group reviewed in discussing these important pieces to the funding puzzle included roads, bridges, railroads, ports, aeronautics and public transit.

The group was then tasked with developing ideas and recommendations on how we as a state can close the funding gap in this day and age of limited financial resources in the transportation sector. Included in the recommendations was a corridor collaborative proposal that I presented to the group, as well as to members of the public in Willmar earlier this month. In addition to presenting my proposal to the TFAC group an in Willmar, I have also discussed it with various transportation groups throughout the state. My proposal has been gaining momentum due to the support from these groups based on the notion that public and private interests can work together to find alternative funding solutions on the local level. Those solutions include a menu of funding options that include public-private partnerships, capture increases in property value and bonding authority.

I look forward to working with the members of TFAC, as well as our public and private partners, to find innovative ways to continue the enhancement of our road and bridge infrastructure in the State of Minnesota.