Thursday, March 23, 2023

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A proposed flavored tobacco ban is back on the table in Minnesota, Trump attorney Evan Corcoran must testify in the documents probe, and a "clean slate" bill in Missouri would make "expungement" automatic.

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The Fed raises interest rates and reassures the banking system is sound, Norfolk Southern reaffirms a commitment to the people of East Palestine, and TikTok creators gather at the Capitol to support free expression.

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Finding childcare is a struggle everywhere, prompting North Carolina's Transylvania County to try a new approach. Maine is slowly building-out broadband access, but disagreements remain over whether local versus national companies should get the contracts, and specialty apps like "Farmers Dating" help those in small communities connect online.

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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