The Free Press, Mankato, MN

April 19, 2013

Your View: Transportation is not a partisan issue

By Vance Stuehrenberg, Blue Earth County commissioner; secretary/treasurer for Association of Minnesota Counties

— It's time for local elected officials and the Legislature to make transportation a priority.

Each day, goods and products are transported on roads and bridges across our region. Commuters are driving to work. Parents are shuttling kids to school or other activities. Farmers are moving their crops to market and industries shipping their products. On a daily basis, we all share a common need for efficient and safe roads and bridges to help us get where we need to go.

We've invested wisely funds from the last major state transportation bill in 2008.  It helped us build the Victory Extension project, the Stadium Road/Victory Drive round about and the new Blue Earth County Road 12 extension from the airport to Blue Earth County Road 17 (old Highway 14). But the work isn't finished and there are other projects in desperate need of attention.

We need to build upon the progress we've made in the past five years and turn our transportation system into an even greater asset that will attract businesses to our state and give companies the confidence they need to grow and expand. We need to maintain the system invested in earlier and make safety improvements.

About eight people are killed in traffic accidents in Blue Earth County alone every year.

Transportation is not a partisan issue. It's time for local elected officials and the Legislature to make transportation a priority and continue to push for funding of vital projects in our communities. We can't afford for our lack of action to impede commerce and restrict access for our citizens. I would urge our local legislators to take action during this legislative session to improve the transportation system we all need.