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Letter: Transportation access should be a legislative priority

The transportation needs of a town like our own may not always be obvious. Yet, despite the joys of living in such a self-sufficient and walkable community, we benefit from a transportation system which needs immediate attention.

At present, nearly half of Minnesota’s roads and bridges are in poor condition and are aging rapidly. The cost of maintaining the current system is increasing at a faster rate than the funding made available by the state. This adversely affects the economic competitiveness and quality of life for Morris residents, as roads deliver commerce, people, and products.

A livable city with easy access to quality transit infrastructure helps retain and attract both students and new, permanent residents. A suffering infrastructure also costs businesses (and thus, consumers) more money in transportation costs.

Investing in transportation in Minnesota will generate new economic development opportunities for Morris, help us retain and attract a talented workforce, create immediate jobs, and keep our state economically competitive. Additionally, Minnesota’s aging population and persons with disabilities need adequate transit service throughout the state so they can live independently and reach the services they need.

Improving access to Minnesota’s transportation system needs to be a priority for the state Legislature in 2014, and I implore the city of Morris to join mayors and officials from 38 Minnesota cities in voicing their support for this effort.