Plan includes important transportation advances, but needs work to fully meet goals
TO: Minnesota News Organizations
FROM: Coalition for Clean Transportation (cctmn.org)
DATE: February 20, 2019
CONTACT: Noa Shavit-Lonstein, MN350 (email@example.com / 651-233-4210)
The Coalition for Clean Transportation, an alliance of leading Minnesota environmental and social justice organizations, released a statement Wednesday commending Gov. Tim Walz for his formal budget proposal, which includes timely investments in transportation for the health of our state and our climate.
Gov. Walz’s proposal, announced Tuesday, includes $1.5 million to expand the Pollution Control Agency’s program to install electric vehicle chargers. This marks the first major dedication of state funds to the vital infrastructure for a zero-emission transportation system in Minnesota. “Expanding vehicle chargers will allow more Minnesotans to take advantage of cost-effective electric car models, saving drivers and their communities on the costs of gasoline,” said Noa Shavit-Lonstein of MN350.
The budget also includes a substantial increase in new, dedicated funding for roads, bridges, and public transportation, in the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota. An official briefing even highlighted funding for Metro Transit’s plans to purchase zero-emission buses, providing clean air for riders and community members alike.
"Transportation is the greatest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Minnesota,” said Margaret Levin, Executive Director of the Sierra Club North Star Chapter. “We applaud Governor Walz for proposing initiatives to increase adoption of zero emission electric vehicles throughout our state. We hope this is just the beginning, and look forward to partnering with state leaders to realize clean transportation options for all Minnesotans.”
Levin and Shavit-Lonstein stressed the governor’s budget still fails to fully fund the state’s need for charging infrastructure. The coalition has recommended added at least $10 million in the next biennium. The budget also contains taxes that will penalize electric vehicle drivers for switching to vehicles that are better for the state.
“Minnesota should incentivize electric vehicle adoption, not discourage it through tax increases,” said Andrew Twite of Fresh Energy. “Under the Governor’s proposal, an electric vehicle owner would pay 20-50% more in taxes than a gas car over the life of the vehicle, even with the proposed gas tax increase.”
The Coalition’s member organizations plan to continue working with legislators on full funding for clean vehicles, and encourage political leaders to take bold action for an affordable and fossil fuel-free transportation system.
The Coalition for Clean Transportation is a collaboration of Minnesota environmental and social justice groups working for a better future in our transportation system. Membership includes MN350, Fresh Energy, the Sierra Club North Star Chapter, Take Action MN, and ISAIAH. More information about the coalition is available at https://www.cctmn.org.