My Official Acceptance
By Andrew Richter
I am happy to accept this appointment;
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Sept. 20, 2016
CITIZENS LEAGUE ANNOUNCES NEW TRANSIT STUDY COMMITTEE
Is there a better way to govern, plan, and fund a transit system to strengthen the region?
SAINT PAUL, Minn. – The Citizens League is convening a new study committee to look at transit in the region through the lens of governance, policy, and funding. The study committee will be chaired by Peter Bell, former Met Council chair. Ann Lenczewski, former legislator and chair of the Minnesota House Tax Committee, will serve as vice-chair.
This focus on transit—defined broadly to include all modes—is the result of a more general study of the Met Council that the Citizens League completed earlier this spring with a 19-member task force of community members. In that final report, the task force reported that while experts maintained that the region’s system of transit governance, planning, operating, and funding worked well despite its seemingly fragmented and complex nature, there remained important questions related to accountability and transparency, efficiency and effectiveness, and equity. Given the limited time the previous group had to review these issues, it recommended that the Citizens League undertake a separate study.
“As our transit system continues to expand it is important to make sure that our funding structure is adequate, equitable, sustainable, and transparent,” said Peter Bell.
“Almost everyone agrees that we do not currently have a sustainable system for addressing long-term transit needs related to both workforce changes and aging,” said Sean Kershaw, Citizens League Executive Director. “In the last session, transit funding questions ultimately prevented a number of other funding and policy issues from being addressed. Instead of limping along, we want to study the current system to see if there could be a better way to plan for a stronger region now and in the future.”
Through recommendations and an open call to all Citizens League members, the new transit study committee will include the following members:
Chair and Vice-Chair
· Mr. Peter Bell, Former Metropolitan Council Chair (2003-2011) (Chair)
· Ms. Ann T. Lenczewski, State Government Relations, Lockridge Grindal Nauen and former Minnesota House of Representative, Chair of Tax Committee (Vice-Chair)
1. Mr. Abou Amara, Director of Public Policy, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change
2. Mr. Michael Beard, Scott County Commissioner, District 3 and former legislator
3. Mr. Bill Blazar, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Business Development, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce
4. Mr. Patrick Born, former Regional Administrator, Metropolitan Council and current Citizens League Board Member
5. Mr. James Erkel, Attorney and Director of the Land Use and Transportation Program, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy
6. Mr. Ethan Fawley, Executive Director, Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition and member of Transportation Advisory Board
7. Ms. Mary Giuliani Stephens, Mayor of Woodbury
8. Ms. Elizabeth Glidden, Vice President and Council Member (Ward 8), Minneapolis City Council.
9. Mr. Jason Grev, Director of Government Relations, Ecolab, Inc.
10. Ms. Mary Liz Holberg, Dakota County Commissioner, District 6 and former legislator
11. Ms. Nancy Tyra-Lukens, Mayor of Eden Prairie
12. Mr. Scott McBride, Transportation District Engineer, Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT)
13. Mr. Jim McDonough, Ramsey County Commissioner, District 6
14. Mr. Peter McLaughlin, Hennepin County Commissioner, District 4 and Chair, Counties Transit Improvement Board
15. Ms. Kenya McKnight, President, Black Women’s Wealth Alliance and member of the Transportation Advisory Board
16. Mr. Vayong Moua, Director, Health Equity Advocacy, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
17. Mr. Andrew Richter, organizer for Community Solutions MN, former planning commission member for City of Crystal and former chair of the Crystal city code task force
18. Mr. William Schreiber, former legislator and retired lobbyist with Messerli and Kramer
19. Ms. Patty Thorsen, Member of the Transportation Accessibility Advisory Committee, Metropolitan Council
The transit study committee will take on this effort this month with the goal to release a report by February 1st to inform the 2017 legislative session.
Well my friends I know some of you probably think I’m crazy for accepting this appointment but unless sceptics of transit get their feet wet at this level we will never change things. I want to thank the Citizens League for this appointment and for their willingness to bring in transit opponents. Look for my updates very soon!