While the legislature once again did not pass a comprehensive bill to raise needed
signicant revenue for roads, bridges and public transit, additional monies were allocated
from the general fund to support transit in Greater Minnesota, transit shelters and stations, increase staff for Capitol security, and provide support for the Safe Routes to School
program to encourage students to bike and walk to school. The legislation included specic
funding for a new transit station at I-35W and Lake street. The bonding bill calls for a
specic allocation to repair pothole damaged roads across the state.
35 W/Lake Street Interchange
Funding for a new transit station was appropriated in the supplemental transportation bill. The project will also receive funding from the capital investment legislation. The 2014
session marks signicant progress in our long time effort to improve transit infrastructure at
this well traveled intersection. A new and modern transit station will be part of the process for improving transit north and south on the I-35W corridor (via Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Orange Line connecting Downtown Minneapolis and Lakeville) and east and west along the Lake Street/Midtown Greenway corridor (connecting the SW Corridor LRT Green Line to the Hiawatha LRT Blue Line). Other suburban and urban routes will be able to use the new station.
Oil Transportation Safety
Transportation of oil via rail and pipeline across Minnesota has dramatically increased in recent years as a result of the oil drilling and fracking boom in North Dakota and Canada. The oil from these regions is particularly volatile and dangerous to transport. While much of the regulations related to oil transportation are dictated at the federal level, the Minnesota Legislature passed a bill to increase funding to better equip and
train re ghters and rst responders along oil transportation routes; hire
more track inspectors; improve rail grade crossings, and require railroads to speed up spills and leaks cleanup. Most of the funding for the bill comes from an assessment on railroads and pipeline companies.
Minnesota continues to make progress on policies to advance clean
and renewable energy and greater energy efciency and conservation. Allowing loans for small scale renewable energy and efciency
installations to be paid as part of your utility bill will now be possible. Utilities are directed to report on their plans for the long term on challenges and opportunities to meet our carbon reduction goals.
Recycling and Composting
The legislature made a signicant update in policies concerning recycling
and composting. In an effort to support communities moving toward a
zero waste policies, such as Minneapolis, a bill was passed to signicantly
increase state grants to local communities for recycling and organics composting. The bill also increased the recycling goal for metro counties from 50% to 75% by 2030, and mandates that larger businesses in the metro area recycle.
Last year in Minneapolis, a catastrophic die off of bees was caused by improper use of pesticides, as has happened elsewhere. In the future, if a hive is lost, a team from the University of Minnesota will be able to investigate. If it is shown to be from improper use of pesticides, the hive owner can be compensated either from the person who did the spraying, or if the person is unknown, from existing resources funded by a tax on pesticides. In another bill, pesticides known to be lethal to pollinators will be listed as such, and cultivars treated with them can no longer be labeled “bee friendly.”
Tax Policies to Support Homeowners, Students, and Renters
In 2014, the legislature built on progressive tax policies passed the previous
year. Two million Minnesotans will benet from tax cuts to working families,
homeowners, college students, married couples and adopting families. In addition, the legislature enacted $178 million in decreased property taxes for homeowners, renters and farmers.