This article was originally posted on
Legislative Update - February 22, 2019
Recently I learned more about how other states are funding their transit systems, and the House passed two bills related to transportation.
We had several interesting presentations in the Transportation Committee. Two were on funding strategies that have taken place in Georgia. Representative Kevin Tanner, the chair of the Georgia House Transportation Committee, went into detail on the funding of a comprehensive transportation system. HB 170 was of particular importance as it will generate over $900 million in new annual funding. This involves taxes on fuels, truck fees, and a $5 hotel/motel fee. Representative Tanner advised that it is important "to do it together" when working to improve state infrastructure.
John Robert Smith of Transportation for America gave an overview of transportation funding strategies used by other states. He also talked about what he had learned from visiting a number of communities in Minnesota this past fall. For more information, go to www.T4America.org
Disability Parking Permits
The House unanimously passed a bill that would allow physical therapists to certify applications for disability parking permits. HF 211 would streamline the permit application process, and help people get permits faster. Most people see their physical therapist more frequently than their physician, so this legislation would also help people save money on otherwise unnecessary visits to their doctor.
We also passed HF 462, a proposal that would provide increased safety for bicyclists. The bill modifies rules for bicyclists and drivers and clarifies the powers and duties of bike riders.
Public Hearing in St. Cloud
Today, I am traveling to St. Cloud for a public hearing and a tour of the New Flyer plant. The Transportation Finance and Policy Division is hosting a series of meetings in various communities to give more Minnesotans the chance to be heard. More information is available on the committee webpage.
Help America Vote Act
On Thursday, the House passed House File 14. This is the bill I mentioned in a previous update that will enable the Secretary of State to access federal funds to help with security for election infrastructure. A total of $6.6 million was designated for a grant to Minnesota. Each state was allocated a share of the grant money on the condition that the state provide 5% matching funds.
Please contact me with any questions or concerns you have. It is an honor to serve you.