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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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Governor Dayton announces safety upgrades to Highway 14

Posted on June 28, 2012 at 2:33 PM
Categories: Transportation

hwy 14.jpg

On Tuesday, June 26, Governor Mark Dayton announced plans for a new, three-part safety upgrade to U.S. Highway 14 in south central Minnesota, between North Mankato and Nicollet, MN. The plan includes taking immediate action to improve safety conditions on the road as well as a commitment by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to expand the length of highway to four lanes.

The three-part strategy is already underway in its first stage, which involves increased traffic enforcement in an effort to reduce the dangerous driving behavior that has typically occured on the highway. The second phase of the plan calls for the construction of a widened median, which will create a safer buffer between the current two lanes of the highway. Finally, the last phase of the project will be to expand the stretch of Highway 14 from North Mankato to Nicollet into four lanes of traffic. Construction on this final phase is expected to begin in about five years, with a total cost for the three phases of the project being roughly $21.5 – 35 million.

“This segment of Highway 14 has proven to be particularly dangerous, and today’s actions will be important steps to reduce both congestion and accidents,” said Governor Dayton.  “I remain committed to making Highway 14 a four-lane highway ‘from border to border’ (Minnesota’s western border to its eastern border).”


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Lieutenant Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon has "Lunch on the Avenue"

Posted on June 15, 2012 at 2:15 PM
Categories: Commerce, Lt. Gov. Prettner Solon, Economy, Transportation

LunchOnAve.jpg

This past Tuesday, June 12, Lieutenant Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon showed her support for University Avenue’s locally-owned businesses when she attended “Lunch on the Avenue” at Ngon’s Bistro. Lieutenant Governor Solon met with business leaders from the Midway area including Midway Chamber of Commerce Board Chair Paul McGinley and representatives from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and the Met Council. Others who attended include Robert McPherson, an insurance risk consultant with Western Insurance Agency in St. Paul and Chris Ferguson, President and CEO of Bywater Business Solutions in Minneapolis.


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Metropolitan Council Committed to Green Innovation

Posted on April 22, 2012 at 4:54 PM
Categories: Earth Day, Environment, Transportation

GoGreenerHybridBus420.jpgOver the course of the last several years, the Metropolitan Council has transformed itself into a leaner, greener government agency. Metro Transit’s “Go Greener” campaign has been the most visible facet of the Council’s transformation, but Metro Transit’s efforts are only a few of the agency’s award winning green initiatives. 

The Metropolitan Council’s Environmental Services Division, responsible for handling waste water in the Metro area, is leading the way in making the Metropolitan Council a greener agency. The division has reduced its energy consumption by cleaning equipment more regularly, replacing old equipment with new, energy efficient equipment, and exploring ways to use the heat released during the treatment process for energy. In addition, Xcel Energy has recognized the Environmental Services Division with a Gold Award for achieving the highest electrical savings of all the utility’s large commercial and industrial customers in Minnesota between January 2010 and June 2011.


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Staying Safe During the 2012 Construction Season

Posted on April 05, 2012 at 2:20 PM
Categories: Transportation, Public Safety

The Minnesota Department of Transportation today announced its 2012 construction program, which will include 316 economy-boosting projects in the Metro and in Greater Minnesota. This year's state highway construction projects include work on the Interstate I-694/Highway 10 interchange in the Twin Cities and completion of construction on I-35 in Duluth. Other projects will improve safety at railroad crossings, repair weather-damaged seawalls and docks, and repair runways and terminals at regional airports.

“MnDOT is focused on improving our highways and maximizing the capacity of the system,” said Commissioner Tom Sorel. “Our transportation system is vital to the state’s economy and to its citizens’ quality of life. We want to ensure that it provides a safe and efficient trip for all users.”


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Helping Truckers Save Money and Clean Up the Air

Posted on March 31, 2012 at 1:13 PM
Categories: Environment, Transportation, Technology

truckers.jpg

With diesel fuel prices climbing to $4 per gallon, there's now a loan program that can help Minnesota long-haul truckers save money, stay cool this summer, and reduce pollution on overnight rest stops.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency offers low, 4 percent loans to owner-operated long-haul truckers and small trucking companies to purchase idle-reduction devices. These auxiliary power units, or APUs, are either small, 15-horsepower diesel engines or battery pack systems that can run air conditioning, heaters and electricity to power laptops while the truck’s main engine is shut off.


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