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Ted Mondale, Metropolitan Council Chair discusses plans for metropolitan government. Topics include Governor Ventura's plans to close the Metropolitan Council. Mondale also answers listener questions.

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(00:00:10) Good morning. This is midday on Minnesota Public Radio. I'm Gary eichten glad you could join us last fall during the campaign for governor. Jesse Ventura promised voters at he would scale back the size of government asked for specifics. The governor to be really didn't hesitate. The Metropolitan Council. He said was history council is in charge of planning for the Twin Cities metro area as such it's gotten involved in one of the hot new issues of our time urban sprawl. It's also operating the bus system in the Twin City area and the wastewater treatment system. It is not a tiny little Backwater. It has a budget approaching 300 million dollars with 37 hundred employees. So in Jesse Ventura said the Met Council would be gone people sat up and took notice. Here, we are a month into the vent or Administration and the Metropolitan council is Alive and Well, in fact the governor governor is proposing substantial increases in the amount of money spent on many of the programs at the council is involved in things like Transit and housing, but the governor says it is time for the Metropolitan Council to get some results for joining us this first hour of our midday program is the man charged with putting all that new money to good use the new chair of the Metropolitan Council Ted Mondale. Mr. Mondale is a former state senator from St. Louis Park, you'll recall he was also one of the 6D Fellers who ran for governor last year had Mondale is our guest this hour and we invite you to join our conversation as well. Give us a call if you have a question for Ted Mondale 6512276 thousand is our Twin City area number six, five. One two, two seven six thousand outside the Twin Cities 1-800 to for to to 8286512276 thousand or one eight hundred two, four two two eight two eight. Thanks for coming in today. (00:01:59) My pleasure Gary. (00:02:00) Are you on a short leash Zetas is that an accurate description in terms of either get some results immediately or the council disappears. (00:02:10) I think that's probably the same of all of his Commissioners. This is someone who ran on a platform of making government work better for people and I think myself and the other Commissioners all I think have a direct mandate to make government work more efficiently for people at less money. And that's my task. Now what the governor's asked me to do is come back to him and a few months and put the outlines of the outcomes for this agency. And I think we can have tremendous success here. There's a you know, Kurt Johnson the former chair and the staff there have done excellent work. We're going to continue to build on what they've done and I think in the years ahead we can build a transportation system. I think that's issue number one where to deal with the problems that we have. Today the congestion and the dis link between where people live and where jobs are I think we can improve on our wastewater treatment area and make the Environmental Services much cleaner. I think we can be much more efficient and I think we can move forward on the earlier steps and do a much better job of providing Housing and Urban Redevelopment. I think if we do that in or certainly are on our way in the end of four years, you're going to see The public's going to see better services at less cost. I think the governor will say, all right, let's move forward and I think we're going to make it. I've been meeting the last few days I start on Monday, but I've been meeting the last few days with senior leaders there and looking at where we are and I think I think we're going to be able to make (00:03:39) it transportation is your top (00:03:41) priority. That's the key issue. You know, the Twin Cities area has a lot of strengths. We got one of the best and most diverse economies. We've got pretty good schools. We've got great parks and open space or whether you know, it's tough to have a government program to deal with with our winners. But we're approaching a time now. We're at full capacity for a highway systems and we can't build them out for instance the last 25 years. We built 200 miles of new highway systems. I think we have maybe arguably 20 to 50 miles. Now that are congested in the next 25 years. We can only physically build because of environmental and social and financial issues 200 more money 20 more miles. So we're facing if we don't do something between a hundred and two hundred miles of totally congested Highway systems in the future. We cannot build ourselves out of this problem. We've got some 650,000 people are going to be moving to this area in the next 25 years. We can't build our way out of it with roads and we need to now move aggressively to build a transit system. The good news the big issue about the whole met Council in the regional area is we have never had or at least in my time 25 years. We've not had a governor that have paid attention to this issue and Now we have a governor who is who wants a transportation system. He says I want to ride on that light rail line and the year 2002 now there's some people nervous on whether we can make that or not, but I think we will have in place what we need that over the next ten years. We can double the capacity of our transit system and that the importance about this is a number of things one is we're competing against other regions. We're competing against st. Louis. We're competing against Chicago We're competing against Denver directly and others if our transit system becomes clogged up we become a less attractive Place upon which to grow the second issue is there's a lot of people who can't afford or work doesn't pay to go from where they are to where the jobs are and we had to we have to deal with both of those issues. And we finally have a governor that's going to pay attention to this issue the legislature and when I was a member we debated every year and would fall apart because the governor was absence now, we have a governor that's going to do something about it because he As the issue he's committed to it and I think those of us who understand that we are region who and know that we need to make real progress. I think we have finally the politics and the will and the direction to really do great things and continue the growth of this area in a sensible way. (00:06:14) What about the other Weller several big issues facing you folks but there's another big one the urban sprawl Metropolitan growth. Yes. I mean that's what should people be allowed to live wherever they want to live or is it is come time now for the government to start telling people where they ought to live. Well, there's three (00:06:35) philosophies the the first philosophy is that we should control all growth and stop all growth and therefore all growth will come back into the seven-county metropolitan area. The problem with that is we're really in a 14 County metropolitan area, and we really don't have much jurisdiction over Wisconsin and that strategy won't work either, theoretically Or realistically the second thing is is let the market do it. Well the market created Los Angeles and we don't want to become Los Angeles. We'd like their whether we'd like their entertainment industry, but we don't want their urban planning it is it has been a mistake and so the philosophy that that this Administration is going to push forward is a targeted growth strategy use Regional resources and largely around the concept of transit to rebuild the core to invest as much on existing infrastructure. We have a great opportunity here that as we build Transit as we rebuild the core areas when the baby boom retires and they get out of the bigger housing that they want. We want them to stay in their community and have the housing there that they can stay where their loved ones are in families are or hopefully also create an opportunity where they want to come back into town and live into these new rebuild areas. And in that way we control sprawl because the engine is sprawl is pretty simple. We've got the need For 350,000 new households over the next 25 years and the questions are where they're going to be built. Are they going to be rebuilt along Lake Street, or they can be rebuilt in a revived st. Louis Park or out in Bloomington, or are they going to be out in Elk River? St. Cloud and I think if the answers of the previous ones that were able to rebuild our communities around Transit around common-sense land use and we use our resources wisely. We're going to continue to be a successful region if we fail on this Mission because we don't have much time given these Trends we will sprawl out of control and I think the the economic future of our region and the livability are threatened. So it is a it is a crucial issue. It is a complicated issue. But when you break it down, where do those 350,000 people go and if we can get 60 70 percent of those people on existing infrastructure our cost of delivering government service are the livability of our region will continue to be the best place in the region to live (00:08:57) in New chair of the Metropolitan council is with us Ted Mondale and he's come by today to talk about some of his priorities for the council some of the naughty questions. Naughty issues facing the council and indeed the entire metropolitan area indeed the entire State you'd like to join our conversation. Give us a call six five. One two, two seven six thousand. That's our Twin City area number 6512276 thousand outside the Twin Cities one eight hundred two, four two two eight 286512276 thousand or 1-800 to for to to 82890 as the chair of the Met Council. Can you get rid of this this need to use these area codes just (00:09:36) take care of that's a little out of my jurisdiction. One of the things I think that the Met Council can do and improve on is sort of the convener roll one of the things and I think the main charge of the council's look about the viability and the economic growth of our region a lot of the issues that we're going to be facing. Don't require a met Council or government regulatory response, but there are issues perhaps workplace training or other issues where we can play as as looking after the region and having the data where we can play the initiative that we bring people to the table and where the results may be all private sector action or some other combination where we don't aren't involved and I hope to play a very strong role in that in that way and I think the region needs it (00:10:29) Tony your question place. Yes. I had a question, excuse me regarding the your plans. Mr. Mondale to market the idea of using public transportation among our general populace. I lived in Europe for some time and over there. Everybody accepts. The public transportation is a way to get about here were quite a bit more tied into our own personal vehicles, and I think a great obstacle is in expanding that that awareness of public transportation use (00:11:08) That's a very good point we have built. In fact in what was the 50s early 60s, we pulled our mass transit out of the core City. Some are blaming Ford and GM. I was 3 at the time so I'm not going to comment the right now. We've built over the last 25 arguably 40 years. We have built a large geographic area around a transportation system. And that's the automobile anybody that's telling you that you're going to replace automobile in the next 50 years is just not dealing with reality. I see my task and the Region's task is that we have to now start to compete with automobile for ridership because we can't build our way out of the congestion. The goal would be hopefully in 10 to 15, perhaps 20 years to double the ridership of the existing system. That's going to take nine hundred to a thousand new buses. You need new bus garages you need efficient ways to get out there because Transit will Work when you can get from where you are to where you want to go when you want to get there and quite frankly. We don't have the infrastructure at this point in transit to be able to have that and that's where it's going to work. It's going to take a number of things. We should all be rejoiced and that in the governor's budget. We've got a 15 percent increase for Transit. So on those heavy roots and other areas, there are going to be service enhancements coming forward in the next couple of years just with that alone. Secondly, I think there's a dollars they're necessary to take care of the local match the we there's a realistic chance it in the year 2002. There will be a link between Downtown Minneapolis going out to the airport but to both Terminals and out to the mega mall on a light a well-built functioning light rail system. That's not enough. We need to build a corridors all around the Twin Cities metropolitan area. So in effect we can compete with the automobile. So we are not at a point now where it works for everybody. Or Transit works for everybody and we just have to improve it. But again the goal is if you can get from where you are to where you want to go when you want to get there transferable work, but it involves infrastructure and involves land use planning. One of the things that we want to do and I was up speaking to some of the legislators yesterday. They're very in tune to this as well as around these this transit system. We want to create strong incentives to rebuild mix use Transit oriented housing places where you can go and live and their shopping and everything within 10 minutes and it's protest rien friendly and bike-friendly, so we want to use the transit system not just for Transit. But as a catalyst to rebuild the core area of the Twin Cities and I think we can get there. Do (00:13:50) you see in addition to a (00:13:54) much bigger Fleet of buses working the metro area to do see (00:13:59) a whole series of Light Rail Transit lines running around the metro area or (00:14:06) is (00:14:07) Our vision more along the lines of well, let's build the first one see how it works and then figure out if we want more of (00:14:13) this this is I suppose it's how you get in trouble. But this is this is where I see it happening over the next 10 years if we're successful. I see a network of Transit options going forward, it's clear. I think that we're going to build the first line of Light Rail Transit. I think it's obvious that there's a lot of momentum and representative over star in Washington and a lot of people for this commuter rail idea running rail on the reg on the existing railroad tracks. I think the What's called the North Star corridor from st. Cloud or Elk River down into Minneapolis is a route that looks good. I think there's a route from Minneapolis down the Lakeville and a route from st. Paul up to Forest Lake that look like they're doable the ready to go and there's Community buy-in. We need to have a line and we're waiting for Ramsey County to and the City of st. Paul to come forward with a clear Corridor that they want that Sense with ridership and I think that's some of the things are going to be focusing on on very shortly and I'm going to look to people the county and the mayor mayor Coleman to hopefully we can come together with an agreement. We're really on a in the third thing. I think that that's that that we can do including of the existing bus fleet is dedicated bus transit ways with specifically outfitted buses that are more comfortable that move you from point A to B on a bus transit way built in such a way that they can be easily convertible to rail, but the difference here is a funding source and the cost the cost is much cheaper, but also you can use quote the gas tax money to be able to fund this so we don't have to go to Washington to get that additional bonding and funding the bottom line here is where though, we are on a very tight timeline if we are successful in building a light Rod the first line and putting together a comprehensive Vision where all the county rail authorities and the Commissioner transportation and myself and my counsel and everybody in the region can can go to Washington and say here's our vision. I think we can be in the funding Cycles over the next four years and in 10 years out. We will have that competition the car or we can start marketing and moving people off the out of cars and in the buses bought because the bus system or the transit system works better than their car if we fail and we're on a tight timeline, but if we fail to come to consensus by the time the legislature closes, I don't think we can make it Tony your question, please. (00:16:44) Yeah. Mr. Mondale. I'm let's go from the general to the specific here for a minute on the first light rail line. I've heard of plans to build the station at the airport clear on the far side of the parking lot. And that seems like it would drive ridership down drastically. I think details like that will make or break a line and I wonder if you have any plans to address questions. Like that and I'll hang up and listen to your (00:17:08) answer. Well, I start work on Monday. So if you could give me a little leeway here and the first thing I do is show up on the chair of the light rail Transit Corridor meeting. I'll probably let commissioner McLaughlin chair at since I'm a little new but I think that clearly is one of the issues I want to make sure we need to make sure that the transit line again gets back to where we want to go you want to go to where you want to go when you want to get there. And so I hope that that that Transit line has to be you have to get out in the middle of the airport so that you can get out and get your gate quickly. So, you know and there's some changes in the way we get the gates. I mean in a few years, I think Paper Tickets will be a thing of the past. I don't use them anymore. And so I think we have to look at that. We have to look at the form at where the airport is going to be in ten years because to build it I've heard from the Transportation commissioner. Who by the way is in line. He's concerned about that and if he's concerned about it, I'm concerned about it and I it will certainly be one of the key negotiating pieces here (00:18:16) Eric your question for mr. Mondale. Hello. Mr. Mondal Governor Ventura has said that we need to encourage development in the urban core yet. We can't tell people where they want to live and I agree with him on both of those points. So my question is how do we create those incentives yet allow people to live where they (00:18:32) choose to. Well people are going to choose to live where they want to live regardless of what government does I think our goal and we have a targeted land use policy. We're going to try and take a lot of the regional dollars that had originally go to expanded growth and try and focus those in to try and build and rebuild communities that we have in place. For instance. We have an act it's called the livable communities act. I actually it was my bill and we have Regional dollars there that we took from other agencies and things that would be used for quote sprawl and we have dollars to go into neighborhoods. Like we even have a lot of investments in the Phillips neighborhood by Abbott Northwestern Hospital and Honeywell a lot of work and a lot of rehab going there when to continue that investment the Sears building at that can become an economic Hub there that's very very important. We have dollars into the fail and Corridor to the wetlands area and rebuild that we have Dollars into my home city of st. Louis Park were building a downtown St. Louis Park and let's not forget the suburbs. Minnetonka is privately advertising diverse and affordable housing with Section 8 units in places that are close to daycare close to jobs and next to arguably the best elementary school in one of the best school districts in the state if not the best. So there are some things happening. We just have to continue to build on that and keep that commitment because in the end, you know, a lot of this comes down to economics. The fact of the matter is a business is going to go where it makes business sense for them. That's what that's the commitment there. And we have to make sure that the economic conditions are right in the areas that we have already made our investments in sewers and Roads and water that this is a place where you'd want to put your business or this is a place where you want to raise your family or this is a place where you want to retire, you know, one of the big issues here that certainly out of my agency's purview is the schools. And I think there's been some good steps and there's good some reform and I think you have to applaud Governor Ventura for coming forward with his putting his money where his mouth was and coming forward with more dollars for schools and hopefully along some performance standards with those tied to those dollars as well. Frankly if the schools and the core areas all fail. I think a lot of what we're talking about here is going to have less impact but if the school's get better if the housing gets better if the transit gets better if we're smart about where we put our scarce resources, we're going to do very very well if the schools fail and we don't build Transit, you know, the systems are so big one of the things that that it took me a while to figure out when I was a legislator is we're talking with about large Regional systems housing is multi multi-billion dollars when you're talking about improving bus services, you're talking about a thousand new buses and for new parking garages and these Wastewater you talk about a Y2K Problem. The Met Council has a Y2K problem 300 gallons of raw sewage an hour if we lose power. I don't want to be I may want to be a household name but not for that. And so we have these large systems in the important thing is that we're making the kind of right investments in these systems. So that later on the market makes these decisions. I don't know what the prices are now, but when I was a legislator, the average cost of a square foot of business space in the Twin Cities was $38 and in the developing suburbs $18, if you want to be successful government's got to step in and bridge that Gap a little bit. If your redeveloping you have to pay for the cost of polluted land Redevelopment. We have seven million dollars a year at the regional level and and extensive amount of dollars at the state level with that commitment to do there. You have a land preparation and and other costs that you don't have in a developing areas. So we have to prioritize where our dollars go so the core areas can compete and if we create the type of Market incentives necessary. So the private sector can make a profit based around of kind of livable transit-oriented development that people are going to like we're going to be fined and that's sort of The Sweet Spot on the tennis racket that we need to get to (00:22:48) had Mondale is with us. He is the new chair of the Metropolitan Council. He's come by today to talk about his priorities and if you'd like to join our conversation again, 6512276 thousand 6512276 thousand outside the Twin Cities one eight hundred two, four two two eight two eight and we'll get to some more callers in just a couple minutes. It's a weekend of food and fun at the Twin Cities food and wine experience coming to the Minneapolis Convention Center, February 12th through the 14th. You can sample Gourmet wines attend seminars from some of the nation's leading experts and test the latest specialty kitchen products. MPR members will receive three dollars off the price of a ticket to order yours call six. One, two, three, seven one five 857. That's the Twin Cities food and wine experience, February 12th through the 14th. Call six one two three seven one five eight five seven. This is midday coming to you on Minnesota Public Radio. By the way over the noon hour. Today. We're going to be focusing on the governor's education proposals outlined in the budget that was released yesterday big increase in K-12 education and will try to find out what that money might buy that's coming up over the noon hour today. Mpr's Main Street radio coverage of rural issues is supported by the blandin foundation committed to strengthening rural communities and expanding cultural opportunities through the Minnesota. Rural Arts initiative Greta Cunningham joins us now with an update on the news Greta. Thanks Gary. Good morning. President Clinton says American workers should be proud of the latest economic news new figures show the economy grew at an annual rate of 5.6% in the last quarter of last year for all of 1998. The figure was three point nine percent and inflation was running at just one percent Clinton says, it proves that big growth doesn't have to ignite inflation. A federal appeals court says the public can see the entire 12 our interview of Chairman Bill Gates by government lawyers government lawyers have played about eight hours of video showing Gates being questioned for the antitrust trial the experts that have already been made public have shown Gates often claiming to have forgotten key events Gates later insisted that he answered every question completely and truthfully in Regional news. The Coalition of black churches rallied at the Capitol today to criticize Governor. Jesse Ventura has cabinet appointments Minnesota's population is about 94% white. So far Ventura has appointed at least two minority members to his cabinet bent or a spokesman John Woodley says Ventura wants to appoint the best people to the jobs and adds this morning's rally was no way for the coalition to start building a good relationship with the governor the 10-day st. Paul Winter Carnival kicks off tonight with the traditional coronation of King Boris, and the queen of the Snows. This year's Carnival includes a snow playground in Como Park in Rice Park, 8 multi-block ice sculptures will be on display the king boreas. Grande parade will run through downtown st. Paul tomorrow the forecast for Minnesota today. As for cloudy skies in the Southeast high temperatures ranging from 25 in the north to 38 in the South tonight. We'll have Fair Skies Statewide with areas of fog in the Southeast lows tonight ranging from 13 to 20 degrees at this hour Duluth reports. Mostly sunny skies and 24 St. Cloud report sunshine in nineteen fog still in portions of Rochester and 20 degrees. It's sunny and Fargo and 20 and in the Twin Cities mostly sunny a temperature of 26 Gary. That's a look at news headlines. Thank you Greta Greta Cunningham with some news headlines. And wow. Well Greta was updating us on the news. We were mr. Mondale and I were discussing the possibilities of the sewage problem in Y2K. Is this a real a real problem potential problem or is it it's (00:26:27) well, the the wastewater treatment plants in the Twin Cities area process 3.2 million gallons of sewage a day and if You lose power. What do you do? And so certainly when we sat down the last couple days and said, okay, what are our issues transits High urban sprawl is high housings high but the administrator showed me a little letter from NSP saying we can't guarantee you power. I did makes run into one of the NSP people yesterday and did grab both lapels on the jacket and let them know that wasn't acceptable. I I hope we can work it out, but it's about three 300 gallons of raw sewage an hour. So if you think this government works all glamour get your hip waders on (00:27:23) Jerry your question for Ted Mondale Pledge. Yes, sir. I'd like to ask two questions one is Scott County part of the Met Council. Yes. Okay today by what's the authority process? The Met Council has to exercise control over land use for example in Scott County. And where's it come from the statutory or what? (00:27:42) It is statutory. The Met council is a creature of the state and it is in charge of regional systems. So the Met Council can comment and and you know, the Stillwater Bridge the Met Council was involved in and actually sued that it didn't fit our blueprint what the Met Council really doesn't development is determine who gets sewer gets connected to the central sewer system. That's pretty hard to grow too far without central with without being hooked into the centralized sewer areas. In fact a lot of the areas in the outlying seven-county Metro areas are have their sewer systems at full capacity and want to get hooked into the centralized service the Met Council also determines who gets state roads as a federal dollars there the advisory committee for federal dollars there and they also are involved in the planning there as well as the parks and to some extent the airport. So while we can't really say to a city you can't do that. We can also get it. They have to come through the Met Council to get the authority to build the sewer pipes and to get the road extensions. They need to have sort of Urban Development. And so while it's not direct Authority, it is a partnership and there is always the tension of what are the regional needs versus. What is the local local autonomy (00:29:10) critics have suggested that the Met Council over the years has is the captive rarely of development interests that there are too many developers who actually serve on the council Fair charge. (00:29:25) I don't think that's a fair charge. I think that if there's been a problem of the Met Council in recent years, it's been a lack of gubernatorial leadership quite frankly. I mean, you couldn't have a better chair than Kurt Johnson for those who don't know him he's as bright and as articulate and as Just as anyone could be if I could be half of where he is on those areas. I'm going to measure up but you know, if the governor doesn't pay attention to it, you've really lost your Authority because because we have an area take transit almost every other place in the air in the nation if they want to build Transit, it's one entity. They get the funding and they do it here. Well the federal government pays for some men the transportation State Transportation Department builds it the Metropolitan Council operates the buses and and comes up some of the funding. We have seven different county rail authorities that you need to deal with and also there's there's a local issues as well. We have a hundred eighty two cities in the seven-county metro area. A lot of local autonomy doesn't make sense. What the Met Council needs to do is in are in places where it makes sense to have shared services over the seven-county metro area. We need to deliver those Services more efficiently than you could individually or else. There's no Reason to have that there. So without the support of the governor, you can only take it so far and year after year the issue of transit for instance was brought up and dropped because the governor wouldn't weigh in on the issue and the local interests fought each other and there was no compromise and no moving forward. We've been planning and debating transit for 25 years. And one of the things the governor says it's time to stop the planning. It's time to (00:31:11) implement. Would it be better if the council were elected rather than appointed by the governor? (00:31:17) Well, the governor said that he's I carried the bill when I was in the Senate and the governor said we'll see if the legislature wants that that's up to the legislature to creature of the state and the governor's position is let me take a look at the bill and let's take a look at it a concern of course is there needs to be a Public Finance element to it? Because getting back to the the the earlier question. Who do you think's going to Dance a campaign for met Council and it deals with development. I don't think it's going to be the Council of churches. I think it's probably going to be developer so forth. I understand the Democracy elements of it and I think it should be elected from that standpoint. But also there's some tricky issues about who's going to finance these elections because as we know elections cost money, so the governor has stepped back and said show me the bill and I'll deal with it. Then Carlson had always Governor Carlson had always said that he would veto it which so we'll see what the legislature really wants to do and we'll see what the governor wants to do. He's the Boss (00:32:17) Next caller is from Detroit Lakes Ted. Dad yes. Yes you're on the air. Okay. I was on the speakerphone. Okay. Yeah Ted you out there. (00:32:30) I believe I know who this (00:32:31) is. Yeah. Well, I just called your office to congratulate you on your appointment. I think it's the best appointment that the governor made so far and they told me you were on the radio. So I turned it on to listen to him. (00:32:44) Well you call up your Otter Tail County people see if they want to be part of the Met Council. (00:32:49) Well, they should be yeah, and that's one of the issues that I mentioned that I would like to ask you about. You know now that we've got somebody in there that that we know from up here and you know that some of the people in outstate Minnesota like to have a little bit of input into what goes on in the Twin Cities, even though we don't live there he'll just as people in the Twin Cities always want to have a lot of input into what goes on in outstate, Minnesota. And so I was wondering just how you feel. What are some of your feelings that I didn't catch the beginning of the radio show. So perhaps you've already covered this, but what are your feelings regarding Light Rail and and better mass transit in the Twin Cities mass transit other than buses. (00:33:34) Well Ted. Mr. Fisk of all the I think building a transit system is a top priority of the governor and my top priority and we have to have that happen here. Most of what we do is focused on the metropolitan area, but I consider the Metropolitan are the economic engine for the state. You're not Detroit Lakes is not going to do well if Minneapolis fails and vice versa Detroit Lakes going to do a lot better if we have our economy down here working and having a functioning mass transit system is our only option. We can't build our way out of the congestion that we have today and that we're going to have when we basically in 25 years I going to have a 25 about a I percent increase in the number of daily trips. We can't build our way into it through roads and we have to build a mass transit system. The governor has included in his budget and a tight budget the dollars to get the the first light rail line going. He also has a 15% increase in transit services here in the Twin Cities area and I was with some of the bus company people yesterday in there. Like finally, we're on our way and finally we can stop just getting kicked by people but we can start delivering more services. So there's a lot of Jubilation for those Transit fans and people understand the transit needs to happen. And this Governor has said what he was for and so far he's delivered (00:34:57) tough to make a guest like this. But what the heck, you know, he he he said that he's the governor's proposed spending what 15% more on buses (00:35:08) what how big (00:35:10) would that increase have to be if you could wave a wand and say okay now, we've got a bus system that people will actually want to Don and be able to get where they need to go and so on rather than 15% I would imagine it would be substantially more. (00:35:22) Oh, yes. Well, you have to you have to Stage IT and build it but if you double-click on a 12-2 double capacity, you'd have to build 900 you'd have to purchase 900 buses train the drivers and probably have four to five new Service Garage has that's not in the budget, but we'll get five 272 hopefully 10% more rides and frequencies for people are out there that are riding Transit. Hopefully going to be able to be a little more creative and and and try and get the cost down. One of the things the Met Council has done in recent years as its merge the planning function of the council with the operations function. Now that's together in one one of the things I want to do is go back to the operating functions and say, okay. What can we do the council to help make you do your job more efficiently and better? So, you know directly to your question. It's a huge Capital infrastructure investment that I think we can make over time. It would take 10 years to get it up to line. I think we'd probably if you're talking about doubling the number of ridership. I think you probably have to put the costs up 30 40 percent (00:36:35) Matt your question. Hi mrs. Menil realize you haven't started yet, but I just wanted to see if you clarify something for me. Another Transit question. The proposed Light Rail I believe is going to be on the Highway 55 Corridor and there's also proposed reroute the Highway 55. I'm wondering if those things are in conflict or those something that our work together or do we really need the rear out if there's any light rail (00:37:00) there? I don't think there is going to be a reroute my understanding is the park in question is going to have more land than it does today. I know there's some people who are very opposed to it, but I think the all the elected officials in that area are support of the plan as we have it together. We have to come to consensus on a Transit plan in the next month, maybe two months out. We don't have and you know what moving quickly we're going to make mistakes and I'm sure Gary you'll have me on here and I'll have to admit that we made a mistake. We'll fix it later. But we have a corridor that's been planned for a long time about 10-15 years ago. I drove my father to the airport. And we went down Hiawatha Avenue and he cringed and he said oh my goodness. That's what what's the matter? He goes. I still remember the faces of those people and we told them we had to take their homes to broaden the Hiawatha Corridor. It was 1961 attorney general Walter Mondale was 32. He's 71. We just had a 74th birthday when they took the homes to build Hiawatha Avenue, the Eis was ready in the early 80s and the transit plan were looking at was really put together in the early to late 70s. And now we're finally trying to implement when you eat when you change things and land-use there are problems, but now the planning's been going on for almost 40 years now, it's time to implement and we're going to make some mistakes. Yeah, but in the end we're going to double the ridership of the system lie your question. (00:38:33) What is the feasibility of like Kennedy from O'Hare in Chicago into the loop of just condemning this insane Lena? Using the center of all the freeways 694 394 and lay Light Rail in the (00:38:50) center. I've not seen that as a possibility and I don't know that seems to make some logical sense, but I've not seen that as a possibility as far as what's being staged and looked at now again, it's been studied for 25 years and I don't I don't know how to criticize that other than it's not at the top of the list. I've just had a little briefing on Transit this morning. I probably need about another three hours to get up to speed. So certainly I'll be sir. I'll ask about that later this afternoon when I get briefed later (00:39:31) deck your question. Yes. Mr. Mondale. First off I want to do I was impressed into the only during your campaign the analytical nature of your budget proposals and that type of thing quick issue here. I drive about a hundred and fifty two hundred seventy five miles a day throughout the Twin Cities. Basically, I support business equipment that type of thing and I feel and I think you've kind of answered this you're indicating you're going to take a moldy phased approach that certainly appreciate your comments on the 55 quarter that you're going to in fact finish it and I guess my suggestion is you're right. I don't buy the argument. We can't necessarily at least make major improvements to the freeway system. We have and then accommodate obviously Light Rail and improved bus service within that I think a couple of things that occurred to me as I call the Minnesota Mambo, you know, we have the three lane to Tulane 23 Lane routine as we go around this entire Belt Highway in the Twin Cities. We don't separate egress and entry we've done a lot of things we have to bridge will Cuda there in st. Paul over the Mississippi River in South st. Paul is just an absolute disgrace both ways in the morning and at night these issues have got to be addressed to and I just hope that you bring these into your thinking as well because we can argue we're going to build 20 miles and that's all we're going to build. Well darn it if we're going to build 20 miles. Let's turn around it also. Fix the issues. We've built in that have restricted the utilization of these highways and freeways understand where trade and business does go and a lot of it doesn't go to the central core of the city very bluntly. It runs around the perimeter (00:41:05) that that's a very very good point and a lot of times when we say we're going to build Transit. It sets off bells and whistles and alarms. I want to assure people and was meeting with the transportation commissioner L. Tinkling Berg. The other day is that the they were there's still going to be a consistent flow of dollars to deal with congestion and bottlenecks and repair projects like Highway 100 and bridges and other areas where there's problem. We're not going to forget about the roads and build a bunch of of Transit corridors and forget that the roads are main transportation Source roads are the main way where goods and people move that's going to be that way. For a long long time we're trying to create an alternative to compete that makes sense based on trying to get ridership down the you know, the capacity on the roads try and get people out of their cars. There's also the issue of of we're affordable housing is and where the new job growth is quite frankly. There's a lot of people that want to work and if we want to make welfare reform work people have to be able to get two jobs to be able to make a living and sometimes the cost of a car car insurance parking and everything else makes the job really not pay. So those two issues are important, but we can't let our road system deteriorate as part of that effort we have to do both so we just have to do the job better (00:42:36) just about out of time here, but let's get at least one more caller on Rush. Yes. Mr. Mondale. Congratulations on your appointment. I'm very pleased to hear you making the connection between Transit and housing. My question is related to the fordable Housing Programs. We have looking at livable communities that Reported results for 96 and 97 seem to indicate that it's having trouble meeting its goals. You may be familiar with the numbers but annual shortfalls are now being projected by met Council staff 1,300 affordable owner units 447 rental. My question is how can we create an aggressive production strategy for housing that can lower local barriers in the cost of development and still meet meaningful affordability (00:43:18) goals Well, that could be a half-hour speech. But let me let me take a shot at it what we tried to do with the livable communities act as we didn't try to do Deep Pockets subsidies because well, we do have Deep Pockets subsidies and there's never going to be enough money to buy our way out of that. What we try to do is create Market incentives so that the market and local communities would build housing. I think what we were able to achieve was changing the debate in the Suburban areas from weather as to how now we've got to move forward on the question of how I think there's some pretty good numbers coming out of that act but I think we need to do a lot better. There's a lot of areas. I'd like to go one is we definitely need more funding for communities to build housing. Secondly. We need to take away the barriers Builders tell me that if you took away some of the barriers that are out there you could lower the cost of housing from between 7,500 to fifteen thousand dollars a unit last year. We were Stir the legislature reduce the taxes on rental property, you know, if the cost of housing is high a building it and the taxes it's hard to get it to be affordable. So there's Market systems that we need to deal with and I think you'll see a very aggressive Bill coming out of the originally from the Met Council being carried in the legislature to try and bring those barriers back. I think third the the transit piece gives us I want to build around the nodes of Transit very aggressive incentive packages that will incent the private sector to build affordable dense what's called Transit and pedestrian oriented housing around these Transit stops, and I think fourth one of the issues that we need to deal with aggressively and we haven't is preserving the housing we have we've got a lot of good cheap affordable housing around the Twin Cities metropolitan area. That's getting very old. I mean the issue and Minnetonka and housing is how do you keep the old housing stock because the market Dictate that you knock it all down and build very higher level higher dollar Peak earning housing on it. I am thinking about but it will be a goal of mine as chair to come up with a solution where we incent and perhaps have a public-private partnership that will go out and give really good loans or some kind of program that allow existing homeowners to really fix up the houses they have and I think that's a part of the solution as well. And as we look at stage growth in the next 40 or 50 years, we want to make sure that communities are building in a housing element into that and I think if we do all those things at once we're going to deal with the shortage of housing. It's a crisis. It's a hundred sixty nine thousand units. People are paying too much for by the government averages then they have today and I think it's about the same in outstate Minnesota. This is a big problem. We can't pass one bill and solve it. But if we go at it at five six seven different ways, which I intend to do we're going to make a big impact and make this a better place to live (00:46:18) before we run out of time here quick. To Stillwater the bridge over in Stillwater. Should we build one across the river a new (00:46:26) one? There has to be a bridge there the existing Bridges where and worn out. My understanding is that there's been a I was opposed to it. I carried the bill in the legislature to to send it back to the drawing table. It has an effect now years later been back to the drawing table. I understand there's progress in negotiations. I don't know what they are. I think the issue in my mind is if it's just a bridge for the you know, two or three mile commute shed. That's one thing. My concern will be those Western. What are the land use patterns of those Western Wisconsin counties? What are their comprehensive plans? Are they going to build? You know five-acre strip malls all along the one of the most beautiful Rivers we have preserved. In fact, my father did the bill to preserve the st. Croix River or is there going to be sensible and use over there? And so I hope that we can continue Talks we've had with people in Wisconsin but to make be assured that there's going to be compatible and use in the Wisconsin areas and how can people (00:47:30) judge whether your success or the Met council is doing its job year from now. What should they what (00:47:36) should they play? I think that I think you can't solve this in a year. I think what we have to do is very simple number one. We have to be on our way and build a transit system. Secondly, we have to increase the supply of affordable housing third. We need to make the urban area place where 40 60 70 % of the new growth and the next 25 to 30 years gets built on existing infrastructure. And for I at the council we need it to deliver more services for less money. We need to have cleaner water coming out of the sewage centers here. And if we do those five things, I think you should give me a gold star and make sure you fix the White and the white oo K if your water is pumping if it's New Years day, and you're not feeling so good and you flush the toilet. It in your in your basement is dry then just give me a little wink. I'm probably out somewhere shoveling. Thanks a lot for joining us (00:48:29) today. Thank you Dad Mondale. Who is the new chair of the Metropolitan Council? This is midday coming to you on Minnesota Public Radio reminder over the noon hour. Today. We're going to talk about Governor Ventura has proposals for K-12 education in the state of Minnesota pretty big bump in the education budget and we'll find out what some of that money would be used for right now. It's time for the writers Almanac.


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