John Boland, state legislator and chairman of the Metropolitan Council, talks about the state of the region to the Citizens League annual meeting.
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we're in for a geology first called me about 6 weeks ago to ask me to do this. He lay down some very general guidelines. After that. I picked up the local paper in our Saint Paul and found it in the headlines. I was giving a very major state of the region speech. I was going to talk about the following things which I wrote down quick. So I Would make any mistakes. I think that happened was the Citizens League newsletter came out and those things were more refined than ever. So tempting Meats weather is be informal or formal your request by way of your staff. I'd like to go through what they laid out by way of what we see is here. Now what our problems are how we compared to the rest of the country. As far as an urban area is concerned. I think by way of introduction. The problems that really in all honesty are foremost in the minds of the citizens of the Twin Cities metropolitan area are reading not Regional problems. They are National and international and they relate to inflation recession and unemployment. I think once we understand that then we can move to talk about. the picture in the metropolitan area of the Twin Cities And from the regional perspective only I think it's safe to say for the first time in several years. We are not faced with a major identifiable crises. We have had a lowland government by crises at the regional level. And this is giving us time to look to the Future time to see where we are to put things together and to think creatively. And I for one am personally grateful for that break. This is not to say we are without our share of problems. Obviously we are and we'll get to those. What from the national perspective our region is an excellent shape and the future is bright. Let's look at the Twin Cities metropolitan area in 1974 and see what kind of shape we are really in. First we are not like any other metropolitan area in the United States. The Twin Cities is the nation's 14th largest metropolitan area. Is located on the northwest Edge urbanized America somewhat off the main street and transportation. It is the center of a very large low density predominantly rural region of the nation. We are not and we will never be the center of national Transportation development or growth. And we may be better off because we're not. Upper 25 metropolitan areas in the country. The Twin Cities is 5th and median family income. $11,700 in 1969 and our estimates show it to be around 15,000 now. Under 5% of this Region's families fall below the poverty level. Birrieria is fifth overall in the educational attainment of its population. 12.4 million years of formal education for the population over 25 years of age It is fourth in home ownership 65% own homes and forth in the number of persons per household 3.2. It is 23rd and population density and show the net migration game between 1960 and 1970. Only nine of the 25 major metropolitan areas reflected in an increase. It has a higher percentage of professional technical employment in its Workforce. Then the nation itself or nine other metropolitan areas. The economy is Diversified strong and manufacture of goods retail trade and service. It has good automobile Mobility. Fat you can get anywhere from the Metropolitan urbanized area to another on the freeway system within a half an hour and non-peak hours. It's cultural and recreational facilities are highly regarded. It is first in the number of hospital beds in the country 14th and doctors and 5th in the number of dentists per capita. We have a diversified economic base and an economy with well-developed commercial connections with a national economy that provides protection against local cyclical economic problems. Educational recreational and cultural opportunities are abundant in the area today has managed to avoid or at least minimize the very severe problems of crime physical Decay and social unrest that I played almost every other metropolitan area in the country. This is how we look in relation to the other major Urban centers of the nation. The picture is largely a positive one and the recent quality of life surveys that have been made throughout the country support and publicize this conclusion. But a better proof perhaps then the surveys are the steady stream of journalists and government officials from all over the United States who come here curious to find the answers to how our region has been able to find Metropolitan eyes and still keep and improve its quality of life. I believe an excellent answer to these questions lies within the community itself. We have an independent but interdependent business labor and governmental Community. Perhaps most uniquely and forth an element in this whole picture is the active involvement of our various citizens groups, including obviously the Citizens League. The interaction of East for groups has made it possible to develop and Implement programs responsible for a great deal of progress. An excellent example of this cooperation or shared responsibility recently is the proposed critical areas designation the chance to preserve protect and improve the user one of our most magnificent resources the Mississippi River. Another excellent answer lies with our ability to place ourselves in Focus as a total metropolitan area to look ahead plan for the future and do identify what needs to be done to preserve and improve the quality of life. We prize so highly here. After all that we still cannot become complacent. We have our share of problems many of them extremely complex and interrelated. And there are very few easy solutions. I would like to go over with you briefly some of them. First and foremost is housing. Housing cost in this area are extremely high compared to the rest of the nation. The average cost of a home is in the top 20% of major metropolitan areas. And we live in the 13th, most expensive urban area in which to rent. In 1972, there were 29700 housing permits issued. This figure is admittedly high due to a large number of permits taken out late in 1972 to avoid paying the Sewer Service availability charge which one of the effect in January of 1973. Your 1973 there were 13350 permits issued. This year's figures will likely be lower even than that. Just to meet the needs of new families being formed a new housing demanded. We will need to build 380,000 units by 1990 in addition to preserving the existing housing Supply. To avoid a serious housing shortage by the early 1980s. We need to construct over 23,000 new units per year. I words about 10,000 more than were constructed last year. Very clearly. We are continuing to slip behind in the area of how is he? Government programs for low and moderate-income housing last year built only 917 new units in the metropolitan area. This is down 50% from 1972 and less than one-tenth of the actual need. Saddest of all last year, there was no public housing built at all. in terms of location and this is not particularly significant because of the Little Numbers in 73 and 74 48% of the subsidized units were built in the Suburban areas as compared to 36% the year before second employment in the economy original unemployment rate is up, but below the national average in 1973. Our rate was 3.5 compared to 4.7 for the state and 4.9 for the nation. Are figure for August of this year was 3.9. Where's nationally? It was 5.3 September stayed the same here 3.9 nationally 5.8 in October. We jumped a 4.6 for the nation went 6.0. We are fortunate our employment is not tied to any one sector of the economy. 16.7% of our Workforce is in retail trade. Other large employers by type of the following durable good production 25% non-durable Goods 10% government and education comprise 10% by types of occupation 20% of the workforce is clerical 17% professional technical 13% operatives. 12% are Craftsman and 12% of all of the service? Farmers and Farm Workers comprise one tenth of 1% of our Region's Workforce 21600 people to be exact. Is also interesting to note that A nineteen seventy 3% of the workforce commute from outside our area to work here also a 1969 1/2 of the farmers supplement of their farm income with other employment. That figure Grew From 39% in 1964. The Metropolitan Council Begin work on an input-output model of the economy. That should heal valuable information about the Regent. The idea is to develop a gross area product similar to the gross national product. It would deal with the interrelationship of economic activity in the area. The model shows at this point, I gross area product in 1971 the last available figures of 11 billion dollars of which approximately 1.8 was real estate rental, 1.7 billion new construction, 1.5 billion retail trade 1.4 billion, wholesale sales and trade 1.1 billion government and 1.0 billion finance and insurance. This needs a great deal more work on our part as well as more evaluation and criticism. But I mention it so that you will be aware of the possibilities of its development. Economic work at the Metropolitan Council has also included project in the employment categories out to 1980. The projections indicate that like the rest of the country the region will be moving towards a more service-oriented economy. In addition to projection calls for a 94% increase in the number of workers in the professional technical ranks. The wholesale and Retail categories are expected to drop from 1st to 3rd by manufacturing and services moves up the first and second. A decline in construction employment is projected a 55% drop in the number of farmers and Farm Workers is also forecast overall. A 26% increase in employment is predicted by 1980 bringing the Region's total 2/1 million persons in the workforce. Projections Austin 1990 show a redistribution of employment with the Central City share dropping from 56 to 41% In the area water pollution control substantial progress has been made in this area dissolve oxygen content in river water is not up to standard on all reaches of the rivers in the region except a little pigs. I have the 22 sewer board treatment plant 14 now consistently meet all standards at all times for come close and for do not at least more will be phased out in the near future. Two more treatment plants have been closed down on Lake Minnetonka resulting in a 75% reduction in the amount of effluent going into the lake since that program begin and the Rosemont plant an experimental physical chemical treatment process shows a great deal of promise. in air quality are Air Quality Meats are maintenance levels set by the federal government with our downtown areas. We are required to be within ambient air standards by May 31st of next year. We will meet that the monitoring taking place indicates. Our air pollution is lessening in the downtown area is due to traffic control procedures and better equipped autos on the industrial side. The number of sulfur dioxide violations have dropped off markedly and permits in the state are not required. However order pollution particularly in and around downtown St. Paul continues to be a problem particularly during unfavorable climatic conditions. Unfortunately, there is still no plan to deal with it on a comprehensive basis that would take into account all the industrial activities causing the odors that must become a high priority for us. Disposal of our Solid Waste we are presently halfway through our 10-year plan for disposing of solid waste in sanitary landfills when I was a kid, they were called dumps, but there's no concrete program for what to do in the long range recycling studies are being conducted that involve the pigs. I plant the Cedar Riverside development in the Metro Recycling Center. Homeowners cost for solid waste disposal are still relatively low because most of our disposal sites are located close enough to require only short hauling distances. However, finding environmentally safe sites continues to be a problem particularly in Ramsey and Washington County. In parks and open space 40 million dollar Regional bonding program for Parks pass for the last session of the legislature has helped preserve for public use a number of threatened Park facilities throughout the region. Other legislative mechanism such as the critical areas act and environmental impact statements provide good tools. I'll be at slow to see that environmental issues are considered and development decisions. What an evaluation of the environmental impact statement from a procedural point of view have to be undertaken perhaps tree-lighting streamline in the procedures so that it can be used for its intended purpose and not simply as a delaying strategy. Legislation passed in 1974 require the Metropolitan Council to prepare guidelines for protection of Open Spaces in the region. Those are close to being finalized and will be in the very near future. public transportation what I would consider personally the second major crises that we Face we continue to be an auto oriented region. The reason is obvious our highway system gives us excellent Mobility particularly in comparison with other areas of the country. our bus service system continues to improve since we had our public ownership bus routes service has nearly doubled in mileage ridership is up about 8% in fiscal 1974. Bus riders now, I have an 80% chance of stepping a board a new bus. There's a car painted on the side or not. Our energy problems have helped improve ridership, but the public has not taken the energy crisis seriously in this region. Given this region geographic location at or close to the end of the oil supply line couple list with a dwindling fuel supply in the Public's ever-increasing demand for fuel. The result is obvious a major problem of critical proportions. This comes at a time when the question of major public investment in mass transit is being seriously debated in Washington. That decision will be neither easy nor cheap. The cost of the Washington DC Metro System the new subway system recently jumped from 3 billion to over 4.5 billion. The decision will be particularly hard for public officials. Because I suspect there is very little outpouring of support for public money for public transportation and won't be until our cars are running out of gas or dust financially impossible for most supposed to operate one. But that decision must be made and it must be made soon as a region. We cannot afford any more delay. agriculture Perhaps most significantly urban planners are beginning to finally recognize agriculture as an important Urban activity from 1964 to 73. We experienced a 25% decline in the number of farms in R7 County region. There was a 16% decline of the amount of land and farms and a 28% decline in the number of persons living on farms. The trend is clear. And that is consolidation of farm Holdings along with the conservation of Farmland apartment conversion of Farmland to non-farm uses. It's also interesting that 83% of the finding activity is in dairy products livestock poultry and Horticultural compared to 64% the rest of the state. Listen to cage to watch farmers are growing products to be sold in the urban area and are not farming major crops. Most of these physical problems are obvious obvious, but just as real are the social implications. We have a number of what I consider to be very disturbing social trends. Well, we got a 22% increase in population from 1962 to 72 serious crime increased by 155% Our data also shows that serious crime is increasing at a faster rate in the suburbs been in the central cities. There is a continuing trend for a geographic separation of income groups. There is a continuing trend for a concentration of racial minorities in the older poorest sections of the central cities. There is a trend towards an unbalanced age structure and older neighborhoods with the same phenomenon beginning to occur in clothes in first-ring suburbs. Significant amount of our housing stock is growing old and needs replacement. A great many of the problems that have outlined both physical and social are entering mashed with the whole question of the growth of the region. I was told not to get into the video detail cuz I wasn't perfect mind getting a little bit of it anyway. Well, I don't want to imply that the guy that growth plan for the region, but we call the development framework as it has evolved to date will solve all our problems. I do however suggest the following first. I believe it will for the first time set some parameters around with other kinds of decisions can be made decisions. Which before the framework had to be based on less than adequate information. Secondly, I believe the framework is a starting point a guy to enable us to more objectively evaluate the region in the years ahead. Where should we focus our efforts in the mid-70s? I suggest you that we must Focus these efforts on the implementation of the programs of the development framework or guided growth. It should become the priority of business labor government and the Citizen Community. Its programs will not succeed without such effort. The very foundation of the development framework is based on such an attitude. Again, I want to emphasize that the framework is not a static document. It is a continuing evolving Dynamic process to create the Forum and focal point to identify thoughtfully consider debate and eventually make the necessary decisions for our future. We in government cannot do this alone. Let me cite an example. The Metropolitan council is proposing that are governmental units should jointly develop long-range plans to preserve maintain and Revitalize our older areas. We will be proposing Municipal development corporations and other government mechanisms to meet that need. What governmental efforts such as that will not be sufficient to carry out the preservation to meet the needs of our housing Supply? Private Industry and the financial Community will have to help. We must find ways to expedite and standardize the Government Review process. A great deal of work needs to be done on the effects of codes and ordinances on the cost of housing. And we are suggesting to the legislature that that study be undertaken. What can we in government do to make a good business to invest in the mature areas of this region? Is the financial Community willing to meet the guy that growth policies a significant factor in future investment decisions. finally I'd like to anticipate at least one question. Is a development framework or the guided growth plan going to work? Are we really going to be able to preserve the quality of life that we value so highly? When reporters from The Washington Post New York Times Wall Street Journal and more recently the National Geographic ask that question. My answer was simple. I believe it's going to work because this area has a tradition of Excellence. I told the tradition of cooperation and shared responsibilities. And those Traditions May well be our most valuable asset. Thank you.