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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL)

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BIPARTISAN LEGISLATIVE COALITION HAILS I-35W REPORT

Thursday, January 20, 2005
NEWS RELEASE Minnesota House of Representatives Contact: Melissa Parker (651) 296-8873 melissa.parker@house.mn January 20, 2005 BIPARTISAN LEGISLATIVE COALITION HAILS I-35W REPORT Saint Paul -- A bipartisan group of legislators, representing urban and suburban areas, hailed the release of the I-35W report this week by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) as a significant step forward in alleviating congestion in the corridor. The study, which focused on determining the feasibility of the use of Bus Rapid Transit to address increasing travel along the I-35W corridor between Minneapolis and Lakeville, was a result of 2003 legislation authored by Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Minneapolis) and Rep. Mary Liz Holberg (R-Lakeville) and Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis) and Sen. Pat Pariseau (R-Farmington). "The report forecasts a three-fold increase in bus ridership in the corridor over the next 25 years," stated Hornstein. "Clearly the demand is there for making these transit investments." Holberg added, "Our growing suburban areas need cost effective solutions to our current and future traffic challenges. The study confirms that Bus Rapid Transit over I-35W should be part of the mix." Sen. Scott Dibble has been involved in the discussion about the future of I-35W for the last fifteen years. He emphasized the study's findings that indicated BRT ridership in hours of peak travel would be equivalent to 3 lanes of traffic. "For decades, the communities all along I-35W, including downtown, have needed a solution to address increasing traffic while not contributing to the problems of congestion and pollution," stated Dibble. "I am hopeful that implementation of BRT will strengthen our neighborhoods and downtown and give area travelers a strong transportation option." Sen. Pariseau echoed Holberg's sentiments regarding the pressures of continuing population growth in the south metro. "The study confirms that we will experience significant growth on the southern end of the I-35W corridor over the next 20 years," Pariseau said. "We need to look ahead; this is what the study does." Following the release of the MnDOT study, Representatives Holberg and Hornstein stated they would continue to work in a bipartisan fashion to explore funding options for Bus Rapid Transit. -30-