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In order for the Legislature and governor to responsibly move forward on transportation, key political players in the state — particularly the business community, labor unions, farm and commodity groups, companies that build road and transit infrastructure, and local governments — need to play a much more active role in pressing for transportation funding.
It was this kind of urban-rural, business-labor coalition that led to the historic override of Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s transportation bill veto in 2008. That same coalition needs to build a movement-style campaign in Minnesota before the Legislature and governor will act on meaningful transportation funding in the coming session.
Strong metropolitan areas have strong urban core cities. And strong states have strong metros.
The Brookings Institution writes that metropolitan areas are “the heart of the American economy. They are also our hubs of research and innovation, our centers of human capital, and our gateways of trade and immigration. Metropolitan areas drive the economy, and American competitiveness depends on their vitality. More than ever, this is a national imperative as our global competitors move aggressively down this path — boosting exports, investing in innovation, scaling up clean technology …”
In order for Minneapolis to succeed, we need to catch up to our peer cities in the contest for the best and brightest young people looking to start their lives and careers and the businesses that follow.
We cannot afford to fall further behind, because it only costs us more. We must move forward together as a city, region and state to upgrade our transportation systems. Only then can Minneapolis create jobs and improve its quality of life, business climate and natural environment.
The time to act is now.
Scott Dibble is a member of the Minnesota Senate. Frank Hornstein is a member of the House. Both are DFLers representing Minneapolis.
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.