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Monday, September 29, 2014

Five suburban counties unite in protest of Met Council regional plan

> Protest of Met Council regional plan unites suburban counties
> Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Scott & Washington come together asking to be heard
> Five metro counties from north, south, east and west of Minneapolis and St. Paul found common ground at an unprecedented meeting of all of their county boards on Monday. More than 25 county commissioners and administrators joined together at Thompson County Park in West St. Paul to meet with Metropolitan Council members to explain why they believe the THRIVE MSP 2040 plan and related policy plans on transportation and housing contain ineffective strategies that could hurt suburban communities.
> The elected commissioners, representing the counties of Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Scott and Washington expressed significant concerns about the Metropolitan Council's policy plans. In a letter to the Met Council, the County Commissioners observed that the draft Transportation Policy Plan appears to propose increasing public funds devoted to mass transit in the urban core, while virtually ignoring congestion relief on highways, which are essential to the economic health of suburban communities and the region. The letter goes on to say that the Transportation Policy Plan does not provide for road capacity expansion necessary to support growth projections by the Metropolitan Council and economic development in suburban counties.
> The Metro Area counties are strong supporters of transit, in their own communities and through the Counties Transit Improvement Board, which has been responsible for more than a half billion dollars of transit investment since 2008. But the County Commissioners expressed justified fear that the region will become less competitive if it fails to also take steps to address regional highway needs.
> Suburbs are home to 3 out of every 4 people in the metro area, and the numbers are growing. By 2040, 8 of the 10 cities the Metropolitan Council expects to see the greatest population gains are suburban, and developing suburbs will become home to 400,000 more people.
> Suburban communities also produce an increasing number of jobs for the region. By the Metropolitan Council's estimates, between 2010 and 2040, these five suburban counties will account for 37 percent of metro area job growth. The message from the five county boards was that suburban communities must flourish for the region to flourish.

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