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Today in the Budget

Posted on February 26, 2013 at 12:08 PM
Categories: Transportation, Health, Budget

MN Mayors, Commissioners, and Metropolitan Council Chair Haigh

Today, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, and Metropolitan Council Chair Sue Haigh were joined by a group of mayors and county commissioners at a Capitol news conference urging legislators to support Governor Mark Dayton’s proposal to increase Minnesota’s investment in transit.
 
Joining Rybak, Coleman, and Haigh were Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin, Eagan Mayor Mike Maguire, West St. Paul Mayor John Zanmiller, Shakopee Mayor Brad Tabke, Savage Mayor Janet Williams, and Golden Valley Mayor Shep Harris. In their words, Governor Dayton’s transit plan: "would create a 21st century transit system in Minnesota, which is critical for job creation, economic prosperity and our ability to be globally competitive."
 
This afternoon, Office of Higher Education Director Larry Pogemiller will meet with college students in Winona to discuss student debt, and Governor Dayton’s plan to increase higher education funding – including $80 million in direct financial aid to students. The governor’s proposed investment in the Minnesota State Grant Program would help make college more affordable students like Rahel Theodros. Under the governor’s plan, Rahel would receive an additional $1,200 in direct student aid. More information about Rahel’s story is attached and below.
 
Later today, Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson will visit with hospital administrators and medical professionals in St. Cloud. Commissioner Jesson will discuss health care investments in Governor Dayton’s budget proposal, and other strategies to reform Minnesota’s health care system.
 
 
In the News
 
Winona Daily News
William Mann: Budget proposal helps make college possible for some
 
As the president of Saint Mary’s University, one of the three institutions of higher education that call Winona home, I am compelled to speak for our students and families and commend Gov. Mark Dayton for making quality, affordable college education a priority in his most recent budget proposal.
 
Particularly meaningful among the priorities he has laid out is a 25 percent increase in funding for the Minnesota State Grant program. The state grant is a need-based state award which offers low- and middle-class students at Minnesota colleges or universities an annually renewable grant for tuition, books or living expenses while attending college. The program benefits students attending both public and private institutions of higher education.
 
The proposed increase to the state grant would help even more low- and middle-class families pay for college. According to the state Minnesota Office of Higher Education, current grant recipients would see their grants increase by an average of $300 per year. And 5,000 additional students would become eligible to receive grants. Many of these newly eligible recipients come from middle-class families that earn $50,000 or more per year and are ineligible for the federal Pell Grant.


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Better Roads for a Better Minnesota Program Gains International Recognition

Posted on January 14, 2013 at 10:27 AM
Categories: Transportation

In Minnesota, infrastructure improvement is one of the most critical issues facing the state's transportation system. Extreme weather, the age of the system and competing investment needs results in roads that are in great need of maintenance and improvement.  In 2011, approximately 700 miles of Minnesota's highways were classified as being in "poor" condition. Despite dedicated pavement investments, the miles in "poor" condition were projected to steadily increase to 1,900 by the year 2020.

In response, the Minnesota Department of Transportation worked with Governor Mark Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature to establish Better Roads for a Better Minnesota.


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Results Minnesota: Minnesota Mobility

Posted on December 19, 2012 at 8:40 AM
Categories: Commerce, Transportation, Technology, Outdoors, Economy

Pictured: iPhone Autism App Emergency Scale Screenshot Pictured: An additional photo of the iPhone Autism App

The Autism Help App assists individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and other disabilities to communicate and regulate in emergency situations. 

Two years into his administration, Governor Mark Dayton is making important progress toward building a Better Minnesota by working to provide sustainable options to safely move people, goods, services, and information.

The success of Minnesota’s economy depends on a transportation system that safely and efficiently gets people and goods where they need to be. Our roadways, bridges, and rail systems are continuously improving thanks to Governor Dayton’s strong leadership.  In addition to strong physical infrastructure, Minnesota citizens and businesses need affordable access to the high-tech infrastructure that drives our global economy, including high-speed internet in every corner of our state.

In the Spotlight

The Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities (DDC) at the Minnesota Department of Administration has developed a free award winning mobile device application that helps individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) communicate in emergency situations.

Using a proven 5-point, color-coded scale, the Application can be customized for an individual or family.  In an emergency situation, a parent’s calming voice can explain what to do.  For example, in the case of a fire, the App shows a picture of a safe meeting place and the parent’s voice instructs the individual to go there.  The 5-Point Scale was created by Kari Dunn Buron and Mitzi Beth Curtis of Hamline University, which is a nationally known and accepted system, widely used in public schools.

This mobile tool is designed to be simple and user friendly.  To date, more than 16,300 people have downloaded this App.


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Results Minnesota: Cleaning up Minnesota’s Environment

Posted on December 18, 2012 at 9:00 AM
Categories: Agriculture, Transportation, Outdoors, Health, Environment, Education, Economy

Photo of two men equiping a pipe to their boat on the Minnesota River

Two years into his administration, Governor Mark Dayton is continuing his efforts to build a Better Minnesota. The Dayton Administration is taking note of what has been accomplished so far while still considering the work that is yet to be done.

One important component of building a Better Minnesota is supporting a clean and healthy environment. Minnesota is the Land of 10,000 lakes and a state where people care about the health and integrity of our natural resources. A healthy environment is central to the quality of life that all Minnesotans enjoy, and a crucial component in the success of our economy. Governor Dayton is committed to protecting and improving our natural resources, and leaving a legacy of clean water, cleaner air, and better parks and trails for future generations of Minnesotans.

In the Spotlight

For years, the Minnesota River has been considered one of the most polluted rivers in the state. But collaborative efforts across agencies have made important progress toward improving the health of the river.

Recent testing from the Pollution Control Agency showed marked improvements in dissolved oxygen, phosphorus, and chlorophyll levels. That means conditions have improved to support the health of fish and aquatic species populations in the river.

More work must be done to reduce sediment, bacteria, nutrients, and other contaminants in the river. But the work of over 40 wastewater treatment plants and other clean up efforts have put the Minnesota River on the path to recovery.


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Results Minnesota: Minnesota Safety

Posted on December 17, 2012 at 8:30 AM
Categories: Public Safety, Transportation, Technology

Photo of a Minnesota State Trooper making an arrest

Two years into his administration, Governor Mark Dayton is making important progress toward building a Better Minnesota. Measuring that progress by the improvements Minnesotans have seen in their lives, families, communities, and economy, the Dayton Administration is taking inventory of what has been accomplished thus far, and considering the work that still remains to be done.

One crucial measure of that progress is ensuring the safety of Minnesotans, which is one of the most important functions of state government. Our quality of life depends on the safety of our homes and communities. Governor Dayton is committed to improving safety on or roadways, in our workplaces, and in our neighborhoods. Governor Dayton is working to reduce the incidence of violent crime in our communities, keep drunk drivers off the road, and ensure that emergency personnel have the tools they need to do their jobs effectively.

In the Spotlight

The Department of Public Safety has launched several new programs to keep drunk drivers off the road in Minnesota. 

The Triple Check program is designed to ensure that Minnesota does not issue a license to anyone with an active record of drunk driving in other states. To date, the program has prevented almost 15,000 drunk drivers from unlawfully obtaining a driver’s license in Minnesota.

The Ignition Interlock program requires convicted drunk drivers to prove they are sober with a breath test before their car will start. Nearly 2,900 drunk drivers are currently enrolled in Ignition Interlock, with 289 drivers successfully completing the program.


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Speak up about the environment next week at Citizen Forums

Posted on November 20, 2012 at 4:44 PM
Categories: Environment, Agriculture, Commerce, Health, Greater Minnesota, Transportation

Minnesota Environmental Congress

On Nov. 27, the regional Citizen Forums on the Environment will begin with forums in Rochester and Bloomington.

The forums are an opportunity for Minnesotans to interact with state agency commissioners and staff, and learn more about Minnesota’s Environment & Energy Report Card. Those attending the forums will be asked to answer key questions and submit more in-depth ideas for consideration.

The State of Minnesota wants to hear what Minnesotans’ priorities and visions are for the environment. The input gathered at the forums will be compiled and presented to the Dayton Administration at a statewide Environmental Congress next March.

Citizen forums:

  • Nov. 27: Wood Lake Meeting Center, Rochester, 9:30 a.m.-12 noon
  • Nov. 27: Normandale Community College, Bloomington, 6:30-9 p.m.
  • Nov. 28: Lake Superior College, Duluth, 5:30-8 p.m.
  • Dec. 10: Worthington High School, 3:30-6 p.m.
  • Dec. 12: Stearns County Service Center, Saint Cloud, 5:30-8 p.m.
  • Dec. 14: Minnesota State University, Moorhead, 3-5:30 p.m.

The Minnesota Environmental Congress and the Citizens Forums leading up to it are the result of Governor Dayton’s Executive Order 11-32. To assess Minnesota’s progress toward clean air, water and energy, the Environmental Quality Board is convening Citizen Forums around the state to engage citizens in constructive dialogue, identify environmental challenges, and define a vision for Minnesota’s environmental future.


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Free Transportation Services for Disabled Veterans

Posted on November 13, 2012 at 9:00 AM
Categories: Transportation, Health, Veterans

MetroTransit
MetCouncil and MetroTransit work together to continue to make free transportation services a priority for disabled veterans in Minnesota.

Since 2009, disabled veterans have been able to ride free on transit systems throughout the state, including Minneapolis-St. Paul’s Metro Transit, suburban transit systems, and on buses run by transit systems in Duluth, St. Cloud, Moorhead, Rochester, and other major cities in Minnesota. This service provides free rides for over 50,000 of Minnesota’s disabled vets, as well as their personal care attendants who may be traveling with them.

To ride free, disabled veterans need to show a Veterans Identification Card issued by a VA Medical Center with the words "Service Connected" or "SC" below the photo.

Bus routes and the Hiawatha Line provide connections to the VA Medical Center in South Minneapolis. Ramsey Station on the Northstar line will open on November 14. It is adjacent to the year-old VA Outpatient Clinic in Ramsey.

For more information, call MN Dept. of Veterans Affairs at (651) 556-0596 or visit the Department of Veterans Affairs website for details on obtaining a Veterans Identification Card.


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Buckle Up and Win

Posted on October 08, 2012 at 8:00 AM
Categories: Transportation, Public Safety

Teen Driving

Minnesota Department of Public of Safety Encourages Teens to Buckle Up. Photo Credit State Farm

Teens, here’s your chance to finally go viral: Students in grades 9–12 can produce a 30-second TV public service announcement promoting the importance of buckling up or the dangers of distracted driving. The top teen will win $1,000 and their spot will air during the MTV Video Music Awards in 2013. Cash prizes awarded by AAA.

Deadline for Buckle Up and Pay Attention, Teens! entries is April 15, 2013. Check out the rules, find tips and view previous contest-winning spots online.

Driver inexperience, risk-taking behavior, distractions, nighttime driving and seat belt non-use are the leading reasons traffic crashes are the leading killer of teens. Parents are encouraged to provide supervised driving experience for their teen in a variety of conditions and road types, especially during the first year of licensure. Parents may also use a teen driver contract to establish road rules, reinforce the laws and follow through with consequences.


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Lightrail Gets One "Weld" Closer to Connecting the Twin Cities

Posted on September 06, 2012 at 12:21 PM
Categories: Transportation, Greater Minnesota

Lightrail worker waves a peace sign at a completed stretch of line

Welder Duane Dopp of Herzog Contracting Corp. waves to a passing Hiawatha LRT train shortly before the weld occurred this afternoon on the flyover or train bridge built over Interstate 35W in Minneapolis between the Cedar Riverside and Metrodome LRT stations.

The Central Corridor Light Rail system got one weld closer to completion today, when construction crews joined Central Corridor track to the existing Hiawatha track this afternoon. It happened between the Metrodome and Cedar Riverside light rail stations.

The connection will create a 63-mile passenger rail network for the Twin Cities, 11 miles for Central, 12 miles for Hiawatha and 40 miles for Northstar. The network will increase to 78 miles when the Southwest light rail transit begins service in 2018. Southwest will enable riders to travel from Eden Prairie to downtown Minneapolis, the University of Minnesota, State Capitol and downtown St. Paul – without changing trains.

The Central Corridor light rail, now 68 percent complete, is expected to begin revenue operation in 2014. Between now and then, construction crews will finish the heavy construction, install systems to power the light rail vehicles, and finally begin testing the light rail vehicles.

Today’s weld is more than symbolic. It’s our own, updated version of the “golden spike” for the transcontinental railroad, as it connects the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis. But more importantly, it’s an opportunity to provide environmentally friendly, affordable transit options to the residents of St. Paul, Minneapolis and beyond.


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Stay Safe This Independence Day

Posted on July 03, 2012 at 8:00 AM
Categories: Health, Transportation, Public Safety

Driving.jpg

As we celebrate our history and take pride in our nation this July 4th, the Dayton Administration and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) encourage Minnesotans to take extra care and caution while behind the wheel.

In Minnesota, July 4th has been the deadliest day on the road for the last three years, resulting in 15 traffic deaths over the 24-hour period. “The spike in drinking and driving deaths during the Fourth of July is a clear and simple reminder why Minnesotans need to plan ahead for a sober ride” says Donna Berger, director of the DPS Office of Traffic Safety. During the holiday travel period, 66 percent of traffic deaths are a result of drunk driving.

With a stated mission “to create a culture for which traffic fatalities and serious injuries are no longer acceptable,” The DPS, along with the Departments of Health and Transportation, the State Patrol, and others, have started the Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) initiative which works through “education, engineering, enforcement, and emergency medical and trauma services” to improve road safety for Minnesota citizens.


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