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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).”
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.
Over 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.