As a mayor I think about transportation a lot. Road projects, expanding highways, safety concerns, increased commerce, and ease of commutes are always on my mind. To me, “transportation” in Carver County is spelled “R-O-A-D-S” and I want to share a few thoughts on why I feel that way.
I hear from residents and business owners alike on the need to be active on infrastructure projects. As the mayor of the 3rd largest city in Carver County I’ve had a great deal of experience working at the capital and with MNDOT advocating for the roads that serve Waconia and all of Carver County.
As a result of my involvement I heard in early 2013 that Governor Dayton wanted to expand the transit tax with the goal of increasing the utilization of mass transit in the seven county metro area. “Mass transit” is another term for “light rail”. The Governor’s push to increase the transit tax was focused on Carver County as for years we have been exempt from the transit tax because we already have a mass transit system that serves our area (SouthWest Transit) and therefore Carver County residents were not taxed. Governor Dayton saw that taxing Carver County could pay for his many pet projects for places like Minneapolis, and St. Paul.
I knew I had to get involved and lobby against the imposition of this tax because it would harm Waconia, and Carver County. I became even more vocal when a coalition of metro mayors decided to support this effort because they wanted light rail to be built in their communities, but get paid for by *you*. I decided that *THIS* metro mayor would come out swinging against the tax!
I spent time opposing this tax on the phone, in person and even authored the City of Waconia’s opposition to the tax in our Legislative Priorities. My message was “we don’t need trains in Waconia, we need roads!” I shared my thoughts with my friend Tom Emmer at an event we were both at, and he invited me to join him on his radio show with Bob Davis.
Ultimately we were able to stop the Governor, and I was proud to have been a part of the effort in protecting Carver County residents from that horrible tax!
I was also very excited to be a lead in securing a MNDOT grant for the City of Waconia in order to expand HW-5 to four lanes from HW-285 to Oak avenue. This stretch of highway is one of the most dangerous stretches of highway in the state, and by securing the MNDOT grant of $4.5 million dollars for Waconia, we will be improving HW-5 in a much needed area.
I was glad to be a part of building a coalition around the Waconia HW-5 project. Between the MNDOT grant, Waconia’s Municipal State Aid funding, and local business partners, we will be improving HW-5 and making it a better road to drive on.
As your State Representative, I will help promote road projects, NOT light rail projects for cities and towns all over Carver County, and Minnesota. Transportation is important to all of us and I want to help build, and improve R-O-A-D-S for communities where it will make commerce easier, residents safer, and improve the lives of those who drive on those roads.
Thanks so much,
P.S. Be sure to join me for my upcoming meet and greet events. Click Here for a list of them.