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Transportation funding should be a priority

Our regional transportation system has several needs, and it’s time to support transportation improvements in our community, especially those that will improve the lives of all of us here in the Bemidji area and across Greater Minnesota.

Transportation funding should be a priority at the Legislature this year, and we should ensure lawmakers consider Greater Minnesota transit as well. Too often discussions at the Legislature regarding public transit funding focus on large transit projects and systems in the Twin Cities. Here in Greater Minnesota we support those projects, but it’s important for our elected officials to remember that transit is very important for people living in Greater Minnesota.

Public transit service plays a critical role in getting workers to their jobs as well as directly employing thousands of people across the state. A lack of transportation is often a big obstacle. In Bemidji, each day hundreds of people depend upon public transportation to get them to work, medical appointments, grocery stores and general day-to-day transportation needs.

We have an opportunity to invest in the necessary infrastructure that will improve our local economy right away. Road and bridge projects will create jobs and provide local businesses with a transportation system that will help make them even more competitive. Each of us uses the many highways and statewide transit systems daily in some way, and it’s time for us to help support our transportation system to ensure its viability in the future.

We’re already bogged down by gridlock on our roads. We don’t need to deal with even more gridlock in the Legislature when it comes to transportation here in Greater Minnesota.

Greg Negard

Executive Director, Paul Bunyan Transit