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ENEWS: Investing Statewide in Cities and Transportation

Date Published: 04/20/2017

Author: Dane Smith

Making the Case for LGA in Northern Minnesota

Lakeland Public Television on Friday will host a conversation on the need for restoration of Local Government Aid, focusing on the effects of declining LGA for the city of Bemidji.  Previewing the discussion, the Lakeland Current webpage notes that in 2002 the city of Bemidji received more than $3.2 million in Local Government Aid. By 2008, Bemidji’s LGA had dropped by just about $1 million, and in response, the city raised its property tax levy and cut overtime for all departments, among other actions. “There is clearly a link between fluctuating LGA amounts and cities’ property taxes, particularly in outstate Minnesota,’’ the webpage concludes.  LGA restoration is one of a dozen 2017 legislative priorities in our Minnesota Rural Equity Project, in partnership with the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities, the Greater Minnesota Partnership, and the Minnesota Asset Building Coalition.

Transportation Bill for Growth, AND Safety

From a KSTP-TV report:  "It's four lanes and then it's two lanes, it's not well marked, it's a visibility (issue), it's curvy, windy, hilly...and it's just a...it's been named the highway of horror," said Beth Hodgman, a southern Minnesota woman whose husband was killed on U.S. Hwy. 14. She’s part of an advocacy group seeking between $221 million and $310 million to improve that crucial route, which connects the regional centers of New Ulm, Owatonna, Rochester and Mankato. A host of local and statewide transportation and transit allies, including Growth & Justice and our partners in the Minnesota Rural Equity Project, argues that the state economy needs a much larger, permanent, and dedicated funding stream for transportation and transit, for rural and metro Minnesota.

Quote of the Week

"Don't stand for one-time (transportation and transit) funding. Stand only for long-term, sustainable and self-funding in order to keep our state prosperous” -- Charlie Zelle, Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Transportation Commissioner (from KSTP-TV report, cited above).

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