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Sen. Dan Schoen Viewpoint: The House majority and transit for our district

Sen. Dan Schoen

"It was once said that the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped." — Hubert Humphrey

The above quote is a great insight into how government should be run. It speaks to the idea that we have a responsibility to each other as much as to ourselves. How we treat people who need help speaks to our own character, and hopefully our priorities will reflect that sense of community. Unfortunately, I cannot say I think the House majority feels the same.

There is no other way to say it than to say it directly. Minnesota legislative Republicans' transportation plan, House File 861, would cause the elimination of Transit Link in Hastings, Nininger Township, Afton and Denmark Township. For many, Transit Link is the only source of transportation for senior citizens and the disabled. It is simply unconscionable to see this proposal even comes to the table.

House File 861 would also cause a 40 percent decrease in bus service to our entire district. That absolutely means a 40 percent decrease in service to our Park and Rides and routes in our neighborhoods. Our express/commuter bus service is high traffic and helps with the ever-increasing congestion on our local highways. If you travel north on Highway 61 in the morning, you already know the difficulties entering Interstate 494 west from Highway 61. Reductions in express bus service will only make it worse if more people are driving themselves into St. Paul or Minneapolis to work. Minnesota has a strong economy. Reducing transportation for the elderly, disabled, and business commuters takes us backwards.

"The proposed cuts to transit included in the House proposal would devastate the Twin Cities metro region," said Metropolitan Council Chair Adam Duininck. "As we continue to review possible scenarios it is alarming the magnitude of cuts that would be required. People across the region would be forced to pay more for a service that will provide far less in return. For some commuters, their route to and from work could disappear. In particular, transit riders in the suburbs will feel the greatest impact — these reductions in service could mean the loss of the only public transit they have access to. Now is the time for the Twin Cities metro region to be expanding transit options, not slashing them."

Please look into this issue in greater detail for yourself. Here is a link for information from the Metropolitan Council: https://goo.gl/GMSb1Y. Also, reach out to your House representatives and let them know that this plan is a non-starter for our district.

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