Insider: April 28, 2017

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Minnesota’s Transit Future at Stake

During the 2017 session, the Minnesota Legislature has shown a troubling willingness to cut funding to programs that boost Minnesota’s air, water, and land, despite a healthy budget and a strong demand for these benefits. Sadly, the programs that run our transit systems are no exception.

The Legislature has proposed to cut transit service in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area by 40%, eliminating dozens of routes. The Senate and House have each passed transportation omnibus bills, and both of them threaten to cease transit services that thousands of Minnesotans, especially those with disabilities, rely on. Business and public leaders alike have spoken out vehemently against these proposals, but it is unclear how negotiations between the Governor and legislators will look.

What does this have to do with Minnesota’s environment? For one thing, Metro Transit is a boon for transportation efficiency. The Met Council estimates that a single bus can move as many people as 40 cars, and that a standard light rail train can move the equivalent of 600 cars! This translates to a much smaller carbon footprint and less space needed for roads than if Metro residents relied entirely on individual vehicles. Transit also helps Minnesotans with limited or no automobile access to enjoy our state’s green spaces – the Sierra Club has a program of this very nature – which raises accessibility and support for our great outdoors. And transit gives opportunities for our cities to become more walkable and bikeable – see Matt Privratsky’s Walk to the Green Line project for a great example! 

Transit doesn’t have to be an issue that divides Minnesotans, and it’s not an idea that’s limited to Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Transit benefits our state’s air and our economy, and it’s critical that we tell lawmakers to keep our cities moving forward. Call or email your legislators, tell Governor Dayton to hold out for strong transit funding, or join volunteers directly advocating for Minnesota’s clean transportation future!



Minnesota businesses, community groups go on the offensive against transit cuts

(From Star Tribune) — “Good morning, sir!” exclaimed Maureen Scallen Failor, president of the Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, as she handed a leaflet to a sleepy commuter waiting for a bus at the Lakeville park-and-ride early Wednesday morning.The literature decried a 40 percent cut in bus, light-rail and commuter rail service that the Metropolitan Council says will occur if a Republican-led transportation budget bill moves forward at the Legislature. Between 20 and 70 of Metro Transit’s 151 bus routes could be eliminated, and “thousands” of trips pared, the council claims. >>Read More.

Volunteers to stand up for transit at the People’s Climate March

(From Transportation Forward): Transit, bicycling, and walking are under attack this legislative session. Help Transportation Forward mobilize support for transportation options that meet the needs of all Minnesotans. We will be gathering postcards against drastic cuts to transit service from the People’s Climate March attendees. The March starts at 2:30 pm. We will gather a little earlier at 1:30 pm for training and to start gathering postcards to marchers as they wait for the event to start. At 3:30 pm you can turn in your clipboard to participate in the March or head home. Click here to sign up!

     Advocacy and Events News                                                                           

Join us at the Governor’s Mansion for Marches for Clean Water and a Healthy Environment!

If you attended Water Action Day on April 19th at the State Capitol you know what a big success it was. Whether you made it or not, we want to offer you a chance to join the push to protect our environment. We need Governor Dayton to insist that legislation he signs this year protects our environment and clean water. You are invited to show your support for the environment by joining like minded people in front of the Governor’s Residence at 1006 Summit Avenue Saint Paul weekdays 430 pm to 630 pm and on Saturdays from 930 to 1130 am. Marches begin May 2 and conclude May 13. We hope to see you there! Click here to learn more and sign up!

Additional info: If you represent an organization that would be willing to step up to take a leading role on one of these days, please reply to this email or contact Don Arnosti at Check out the event page to see what days are open for leadership!



St. Paul unleashes new weapon against invasive plants: goats

(From MPR News) — St. Paul is unleashing a new effort to combat invasive plants in city parkland along the Mississippi River.It’s goats. For the first time, the city says it is deploying 30 of the animals from Goat Dispatch, a “grazing goat rental company,” to clean up fenced areas of parkland. “Using goats to clear land and woody areas is much more cost effective than many traditional methods. The costs of clearing land by hand, equipment rental, labor, permits, and debris disposal can add up very quickly,” says the company on its website. >>Read More.

Advocates leery as Minnesota legislators seek role in VW settlement

(From Midwest Energy News) — As Minnesota lawmakers seek more oversight over how $47 million in Volkswagen settlement funds are spent, advocates warn bills in the legislature could cause the state to lose the money altogether. Attorney Leili Fatehi, owner and principal of the public benefit corporation Apparatus, says the consent decree requires that states follow a certain process in distributing money from the settlement and several proposed bills could negate the settlement. “It’s pretty reckless legislation,” said Fatehi, who would like to see some of the money spent on environmental justice initiatives… >>Read More.

Clean, renewable energy arrives at State Capitol Complex in May

(From Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder) —  Beginning May 16, the State Capitol Complex will be powered by clean, renewable energy. In a pilot program between the State and Xcel Energy, 33 percent of the base energy used at the State Capitol Complex will come from renewable sources. “Renewable energy is good for our health, environment, and economy. Minnesota’s clean energy industry supports 15,000 jobs across the state,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. >>Read More.

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