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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

Groups: MN Faces a Range of Transportation Needs

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Thursday, March 2, 2023   

Several groups were at the Minnesota Capitol yesterday to highlight transportation issues facing the region, including rural areas.

The organizations met with state lawmakers to convey the need for more resources for road construction, as well as agencies providing transit rides.

Margaret Donahoe, executive director of the Minnesota Transportation Alliance, said transit systems in smaller Minnesota cities and communities are struggling to balance a rebound in ridership, along with rising expenses for things such as fuel and bus purchases.

"While the transit systems in greater Minnesota are really working hard to meet all the demand for seniors getting to medical appointments, and for people getting to their jobs, they really need some state assistance to help meet that demand," Donahoe asserted.

Funding proposals are still coming together as the state considers how to make use of a historic budget surplus. These groups say while the state is in a strong financial position, funding for transportation, especially road and bridge repairs, has not kept up with the needs being seen around the state.

Kris Fredson, Minnesota and North Dakota director of public affairs for the Laborers' International Union of North America, said Minnesota has 600 structurally deficient bridges and thousands of miles of roads in poor condition. At the same time, revenue sources for these repairs, such as a fuel tax, are projected to underperform as infrastructure needs pile up.

"We really need to identify a new dedicated revenue source to fund our roads and bridges and transit for the long term," Fredson contended.

He stressed Minnesota faces a $20 billion to $30 billion funding gap just to maintain the current system over the next two decades. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave the state a "C" grade when it comes to the shape of its infrastructure.


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