MnDOT seeks a public click critique
- Article by: Bill McAuliffe
- Star Tribune
- October 12, 2013 - 5:36 PM
The Minnesota Department of Transportation is taking its planning show to the information highway, launching an interactive website that outlines the agency’s long-term plans and finance issues while also seeking public comments.
The website, www.dot.state.mn.us/minnesotago, outlines a 50-year transportation vision for Minnesota, called Minnesota GO, affecting not only highways but also aviation, bicycling, walkways, river and lake shipping, transit and pipelines. That vision also addresses environmental issues, balanced access for all potential users, land use and safety.
It also presents the more concrete 20-year State Highway Investment Plan, a frequently updated strategy that currently outlines a $50 billion gap between the to-do list and the money to pay for it all.
Half of Minnesota’s highway miles have pavement that’s more than 50 years old, and 35 percent of the bridges are that age as well, the document says.
The website is an outreach effort that parallels MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle’s ongoing series of town hall meetings to talk about transportation planning and gauge public response.
“It’s not about politics, it’s about arithmetic,” Zelle said in a news release announcing the website, which he said should provide a way for people who can’t attend the town meetings to get involved in the discussion.
The site includes an option for individuals to discuss “why the multimodal transportation system is important to you and your quality of life.”
“We are finding people are thinking ‘Yeah, we appreciate the system,’ but if we’re going to keep it viable in the long term we have to think about just exactly how we’re going to fund it,” said MnDOT spokesman Kevin Gutknecht.
Gas tax revenues are likely to be less supportive than in the past as people drive more fuel efficient cars, while inflation continues to drive up the cost of construction materials.
Bill McAuliffe • 612-673-7646
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