Metropolitan Council Chair Sue Haigh and Minnesota Department of Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle are holding a series of town hall meetings during December to talk about transportation and transit.

Specifically they will talk about how quality transportation networks - roads, public transit, bicycles and aviation - affects the quality of life in Minnesota and how a strong network impacts the economy.

In a report put out last month by the Minnesota Transportation Finance Committee found that over the next 20 years, MnDOT will get $18 billion in funding. But that is $12 billion below what will be needed to keep pace with the needs created by Minnesota's growing population and aging infrastructure.

"The consequences of under investing in the state's transportation system will include deterioration in service, increasing congestion and delays, failing infrastructure, and a diminished ability to remain economically competitive in the global economy," the report titled "Assessing Return on Investment in Minnesota's State Highway Program" said.

MnDOT officials and local leaders also will be on hand to answer questions and accept feedback.

The open houses are from 4 to 6 p.m.:

  • Tuesday at Minneapolis Public Library, Pohlad Hall 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis.
  • Wednesday, Anoka/Ramsey Community College, Coon Rapids Campus, Legacy Conference Room, 11200 Mississippi Blvd. NW, Coon Rapids.
  • Dec. 10, St. Paul Union Depot, Veterans Gallery, 214 E. 4th Street., St. Paul.
  • Dec 12, Century College, 3300 Century Ave. N., Room #2315, White Bear Lake.
  • Dec. 17, Burnsville High School Theatre, Mraz Center for the Performing Arts, 600 East Hwy. 13, Burnsville.

For those who can't attend, MnDOT also is accepting feedback and asking people to weigh in on the topic "why transportation is important to you" on its website.

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9 a.m. update: Rush hour wrap up