With overcrowded and under repaired highways and disintegrating bridges, it’s patently obvious that our state’s infrastructure is in serious danger. The yearly traffic escalation of both small cars and heavy commercial vehicles continue to accelerate the wear on our roads and continues to grow faster than our state can maintain. Consequently, what we need for upkeep of this infrastructure will always surpass available funding and only get exponentially worse with delay. As our infrastructure ages, maintenance become a vital need. We must act and act soon.
According to The Minnesota Department of Transportation, “More than 700 miles of Trunk Highway in Minnesota are currently in “Poor” condition. Despite approximately $980 million of planned pavement investments from 2012-15, the number of miles in “Poor” condition is projected to increase to 1,900 by the year 2020. This will have a significant negative impact on the traveling public, the state’s economy and our quality of life. It will also dramatically increase the future cost of maintaining paved roads in Minnesota.” Minnesota has a surplus of over $800,000,000.
I believe State legislators must listen to the citizenry and find innovative ways to provide this funding. For us do any less is unconsciousable. As lawmakers we must recognize the necessity for increased investment in our infrastructure. This is our responsibility; to listen to our constituents concerns and pleas. We have been charged with this responsibility and we must be held accountable to do what is necessary and right for our state. The cost for years of disregard or negligence will be daunting, however, it can be solved. We must develop a well-defined strategy to address this rising problem and it must be now. The alternative is not worth considering; we as representatives of the people owe our support to them.
Therefore, I believe disintegrating roads, streets and bridges must demand the state legislature’s attention now. The longer we put off fixing this infrastructure the costlier it will become and the more dangerous it will be for Minnesota residents. Minnesotans have proven an insight of combining their resources through state government to maintain a strong, vigorous and affordable means to care for this matter. The problem of a poor state infrastructure should be no exception now. Infrastructure is and will always be vital to keep our state and economy vibrant.
In addition, I believe that the light rail should be brought up and given serious consideration. Thousands of people depend on the existing light rail and I believe it can benefit even more. Thousands of Minnesotans that live on a very low income may have no access to vehicles, as a result, they are somewhat marginalized. The light rail could provide greater access to the Twin Cities helping business. It would also take vehicles off the roads for those who would prefer to utilize the light rail rather than drive. This would reduce wear on our roads as well. I realize this is an ongoing debate and was set aside in the last session. Interestingly, I think some legislators see evidence that could make the light rail experience successful and if elected I will do my best to make it a reality.