To the Editor:
This week, the House and Senate Transportation Committees held a joint hearing with Congressman Jim Oberstar, Chairman of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Congressman Oberstar's message was simple – his position in Congress enables him to help Minnesota address its growing transportation crisis through additional federal funding. But the state must work with him to help itself. Minnesota must increase transportation funding or risk leaving matching federal funds unused.
This message comes at an important time. As a result of years of neglect, under-funding, and excess borrowing, MnDOT has been faced with incredible challenges in meeting the state's transportation needs. These challenges have resulted in the delay of important projects for north metro commuters like finishing 610 and fixing the Devil's Triangle. Moreover, every year we delay major projects increases their construction costs.
Congressman Oberstar made it clear – the system needs more funding soon. If we don't act now in cooperation with Congress, we risk missing out on a great revenue opportunity, doing serious damage to our state's economy, and causing long-term setbacks for transportation.
I will continue working with my colleagues in the Legislature this session to ensure that our crippled transportation system receives the funding it needs for the benefit of commuters in the northern metro and throughout the state.
Assistant Majority Leader