Sep 30, 2016

Congestion on metro freeways, such as I-35 & 35E in the 2nd district, continues to rise, with highways clogged nearly a quarter of the time in rush hour. Believe it or not, some area roadways are congested 5 hours per day. And it’s set to get worse.

Yet all the chairman of the Met Council can say is this: “It’s no surprise to see congestion on our highways is increasing…it’s not practical to build more highways.”

And now, in a desperate effort to secure federal tax dollars, the Met Council has put taxpayers on the hook for $103.5 million to bail out the $1.9 billion Southwest light-rail line, which has failed to gain public support. Minnesota can no longer afford the lost economic output due to commuters stuck in traffic while regional planners refuse to build roads and bridges.

“I35W, from Lakeville to downtown Minneapolis, is the most heavily used transportation corridor which carries 210,000 daily vehicles and 14,000 daily transit riders,” said Dakota County Commissioner and Regional Rail Authority Chair Liz Workman. “The Lakeville Kendrick express service park and ride facility will reach its 750 space capacity by 2020. Since its opening in 2009, trips per day have more than doubled from 12 to 28 and ridership exceeds 1,000 people per day. In the south metro, our transit runs on roads, not rails. Minnesota has been shorted our fair share of Federal transportation dollars for roads for far too long. I support Jason Lewis and his efforts to bring that money home,” Workman continued.

“I don’t understand how big spending liberals, like Angie Craig, can talk about the need for more ‘roads and bridges’ then constantly take more money away from roads and bridges,” said 2nd District Republican nominee Jason Lewis. “Even with recently passed legislation, the federal Highway Trust Fund continues to suffer from revenue shortfalls – yet still diverts gas tax dollars to non-highway uses. Minnesota can’t afford this continued waste. That’s why I oppose the Southwest light-rail line.”

The bottom line is cars or buses both cost far less and carry many more passengers per freeway lane mile than light rail. It’s time to cut out the social engineering and start prioritizing roads again.

Jason Lewis spent his career in the private sector. First running a small family business founded by his grandfather, then working the next 25 years on the broadcast airwaves as an independent voice in the national political conversation by talking with fellow Minnesotans and Americans about solutions to our greatest problems. An active Minnesota resident for two decades, Lewis’ mother was born and raised in North Minneapolis and his wife Leigh is a St. Paul native. They have two daughters. Jason is also an author, public speaker. Lewis won his competitive, multi-candidate primary contest with 49% of the vote share on August 9, 2016.