Last night I attended a hearing at the Minnesota state legislature in support of a comprehensive transit bill HF1044. Advocates from around the state came to testify in support of this bill, and I saw a number of Mpls Bike Coalition members as I scanned the standing room-only conference room. The bill covers a broad spectrum of people and would support trails, pedestrians, bus and rail. You can learn more about it at http://www.transit4mn.org/
Here's how it went
The hearing was led by Representative Frank Hornstein. First the bill sponsor introduced it, and then a series of pre-determined speakers spoke on its behalf. This included bus company representatives from the North Shore, the St. Cloud area, and Southern Minnesota. A bus rider spoke, as did Gary Sjoquist from Quality Bicycle Products, and advocates for the blind and disabled.
The most compelling testimony in my opinion, was that of a man in a wheelchair, who was humorus and then touching when speaking of his reliance on mass transit, asking the Chair to support the bill "to help people like me avoid isolation that so many of us can fall into."
I wish I knew. After the last person testified, the meeting abruptly ended, and Lesley Schack and I looked at it each other wondering, "What - no vote?"
I gather there is more to come as the bill winds its way through the process. If nothing else, lawmakers had to take note of the packed room. Clearly this is an important issue to Minnesotans.
Spotted in the crowd
Katie H, Amy B, Lesley, Molly, and Nice Ride in attendance.