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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Lyndon Carlson, Sr. (DFL)

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House Passes Omnibus Transportation Finance Package

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

HF 4 redirects general funds from auto parts, repairs to roads and bridges but fails to fund rail crossing improvements

ST. PAUL, MN — The Minnesota House passed an Omnibus Transportation Finance bill (HF 4) Tuesday on a 73-59 vote. HF4 would divert more than $300 million per year in General Fund revenue to a dedicated transportation account. This would remove resources from the general fund that have traditionally been used for education, health care, and other state government services.

The bill funds $5 million for rail grade crossing safety improvements. There is a need for $243 million for high priority grade separations and $85 million for high priority at-grade crossings to protect the 326,000 Minnesotans who currently live within the one-half mile danger zone.

Rep. Lyndon Carlson (DFL – Crystal) said on the House floor that a lack of funding for rail crossing improvements was one reason he couldn’t support the bill.

“This is a preventative measure,” said Rep. Carlson. “Just in my district alone, many major intersections that have heavy traffic include railroad crossings. I want to do something about this before there is a tragic event. The concern about preventing a tragedy before it happens should be on all of our minds. In all of these communities, especially in the metro, these rail crossings are near major hospitals, schools, and thousands of homes. The amount of rail safety funding in this bill is a token amount, and does nothing to address the problem.”

Rep. Carlson also cited other frustrations with the bill, including cuts to funding for transit throughout the metro area.

Rep. Carlson encourages constituents to contact him with any questions, comments, concerns, or ideas on any legislative topic. Rep. Carlson can be reached by phone at 651-296-4255 or by email at rep.lyndon.carlson@house.mn .

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