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igs Minnesota Department of Transportation March 25, 2011 The Honorable Mike Beard Chair, House Transportation Policy and Finance Committee 417 State Office Bulging 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luter King J. Blvd. St Paul, MN 55155 Dear Rep. Beard | want to share MrvDOT's concerns about the House Omnibus Transportation Finance Bil, House File 1140, The bill contains several provisions that are problematic for transit ‘The level of general furd spending in your bil for Greater Minnesota transit is $3.729 milion per ‘year lower than the Governor and will educe transit service by approximately 101,000 service hours annually. Greater Minnesota transit dsproportionately serves transit dependent populations such as the elderly and disabled Minnesotans. Ths service provides an opportunity for people to lve independently and sustain vitality in smaller and rural communities. House File 1140 also includes a rect appropriation from the transit assistance fund, which is. ‘currently a statutory aporopraton. This approach wil create addtional complications for management of these funds, in paticular adjusting to revenue that is above or below forecast Switching to a direct arpropriation does not provide any apparent benefit but wll make it more complicated to manage Your bill does not include an appropriation for passenger rail activities, The legislation also includes a prohibtion an spending any Mr/DOT money appropriated inthis bill on passenger ral “unless the commissioner identifies special circumstances of an immediate nature." This results in the elimination of the NnvDOT passenger ral office and ongoing activites for passenger rail development. Minnescra wil lose all the momentum gained over the last two years when we have ‘been able to catch up after almost 10 years of inactivity in passenger ral. As you know, Mr/DOT. ‘completed a comprehensive freight and passenger ral plan in February 2010 atthe direction of the Legislature. Among the many actives that the paccengar al office i currently advancing are: + Anattematives analysis ofthe Chicago to Twin Cites line, inal planning forthe Rochester Zip Line, ‘advancing environmental analysis forthe NLX, ‘ehabiltation ofthe Union Depot in downtown St. Paul, and removal of Twin Cities rll yard botienecks (e.g, 3"" Main, Warner Rd bridge) ‘An Equal Opportunity Employer @9eoase 0600 ‘State law requires expenditures for passenger ral be funded by general funds; state road Construction funds are nat able to be used for transit planning and development. If there are no state general funds for he passenger rail office, federal funds for rail activities willbe relinquished, ‘no federal funds will be obtained by Mr/DOT for intercity passenger rail activities, and private sector jobs forthe next steps on passenger rai wll occur in other states. Additionally, the progress, that has been made by the Passenger Rail Forum willbe lost as individual corridor coalitions pursue projects without guidance or support from Mn/DOT. “The language imposing new reporting requirements for passenger ral projects places an adiitlonal burden on these projecs. The bill amends a provision passed last year to provide extensive {inancal information before bond financing can be requested to develop and construct fixed ‘guideway projects. The additional level of detail will result in a substantial increase inthe level of ‘effort required eary in development of passenger rll projects. Furthermore, the information required under these reporting requirements are likely to be less accurate due tothe state of evelopment of projects when funcing wll be requested ‘Thank you forthe oppertunty to provide ths information, Please do not hesitate to contact me or ‘Scott Peterson if we can be of further assistance in any of these matters. Sincerely, ‘Thomas K. Sore! Commissioner ce: Members of and Staff ofthe House Transportation Policy & Finance Committee ‘An Equal Opportunity Empoyer 00806806600