Comprehensive Transportation Package Will Be Debated This Thursday, 2/21
The Minnesota Legislative Auditor released a report today on the condition of Minnesota State Highways and Bridges. The report detailed a grim future for Minnesota's roads and bridges, stating that MnDOT has consistently scheduled more state highway projects than they could possibly deliver given available funding. The report also found that if Minnesota continues down this path, preservation and maintenance will eat all of the available money for transportation, leaving no funds for new projects.
To view the full report, visit: http://www.auditor.leg.state.mn.us/ped/2008/trunkhwy.htm
This report adds to the mountain of evidence that clearly shows Minnesota needs to act on a comprehensive transportation package. That is why we have been moving quickly on a balanced plan that will address the needs of our roads and bridges in both metro and rural areas. It will also invest in mass transit in the metro, a key component to the long-term transportation and environmental needs of our state.
This Thursday, we will likely take up the transportation package on the floor of both the House and Senate. I recognize that we are struggling with a sluggish economy. Adding a gas tax, for some, seems ill advised. Yet there is a large price to pay for waiting. I hope the report of the Legislative Auditor, the status of our roads and bridges and our desire for clean environment and a competitive economy will translate into action this session. We must pass this vitally important legislation for our future.
Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 by Erin Murphy,
The 2008 Legislature convened today and I am delighted to report that we are moving smartly and quickly at the Capitol.
This morning, DFL leaders introduced the Safe Roads and Bridges Improvement Act, the 2008 omnibus transportation funding legislation. The balanced proposal will help fix crumbling roads and bridges throughout the state, invest in mass transit, and index the gas tax for inflation so we never fall behind this far again with our transportation funding responsibility.
The bill will phase in the first gas tax increase in twenty year. Those in the lowest income bracket will get a $25 rebate to ease the burden for those earning the least. A half-cent metro-wide sales tax will add millions in needed investment for mass transit. Estimates are that over the next five years our bill will create 33,000 new jobs per year. We plan to act quickly on this legislation, that’s why it was introduced on the first day of session. I will keep you up to speed with new developments in the coming weeks.
This Thursday, the legislature intends to pass the Minnesota Legacy Act. The bill will put a constitutional amendment on the November ballot, which if passed by voters, would dedicate a portion of the state sales tax (0.375 percent) to Minnesota's environment and natural resources, parks, and the arts. Many in our district support the Minnesota Legacy Act.
With real challenges facing Minnesota, I enter this session with determination. We are going to send the Governor bills containing solutions to address soaring health care costs, underfunded transit ways and capital investment. I am optimistic that we have set the right course this session.
I encourage you to e-mail me (rep.erin.Murphy@house.mn) with input or questions you have about the Safe Roads and Bridges Improvement Act or the Minnesota Legacy Act. I love hearing from you.
Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2008 by Erin Murphy,
Dear Mighty Citizens,
The 2008 legislative session begins on February 12th. It promises to be a fast-paced and challenging session. I wanted to share a brief preview, and also invite you to continue checking out my blog for weekly updates throughout the session.
A top priority for the legislative session will be to address Minnesota's struggling economy. Higher energy costs, mortgage foreclosures and job loss are a potent concoction and the resulting economic impact is affecting all of us. We can make both short and long-term investments that will create jobs, and strengthen Minnesota's economy for years to come.
Minnesota's unemployment rate is lagging behind national average for the first time in 30 years. We can create jobs right away through passage of a job-centered bonding bill that emphasizes projects that are ready-to-go. Our bonding bill will create 10,000 jobs, focusing on higher education facilities construction and preservation, transportation infrastructure, and clean water preservation.
We can better prepare the long-term economic health of our state through strong investment in education at every level. We can also invest in renewable energy and biosciences, establishing Minnesota as a regional center for these booming industries.
The tragic I-35W bridge collapse this summer shed light on the desperate need for a comprehensive transportation package to address our crumbling roads and bridges. I am optimistic, that with the Governor's support or not, we will pass a transportation package that can make our roads and bridges safer, alleviate traffic congestion, and bolster light-rail and mass transit. A transportation package would also create thousands of good paying construction jobs.
Reforming our broken health care system remains one my top legislative goals. Throughout the interim, I worked with the Health Care Access Committee, which held dozens of hearings and forums across the state to better enable us to make important reforms this year. Every person should have access to quality health care when they need it. I will work this year to make several reforms that can put us on the right track toward guaranteed, affordable health care for every Minnesotan and that will yield a healthier population.
Our legislative process works most effectively when we are informed and work together. On my end, I will keep you up to speed with what is going on at the Capitol with regular blog postings and e-updates throughout the session. On your end, I want to hear about your priorities and vision for our community and state. Send me an e-mail (rep.erin.Murphy@house.mn) with your comments and ideas.
I will hold three "coffee talks" in the upcoming weeks, a lunch with constituents at the Capitol and a town hall meeting with Rep. Paymar and Senator Cohen. Watch here for more information about dates and locations.
Together, we will move Minnesota forward with positive, progressive action in 2008. See you soon!
Rep. Erin Murphy
Posted on Friday, February 8, 2008 by Erin Murphy,