HF797, the Safe Routes to School bill, was heard in the House Transportation Finance committee on March 7. Testifiers included our chief author, Rep. Melissa Hortman, Patrick Sullivan (recent Mounds View High School graduate and current freshman at Macalester), and Jodi Gertken, Program Coordinator for BLEND a project of CentraCare Health Foundation. Testimony was followed by good discussion that included a statement by Rep. Alice Hausman that hearing Mr. Sullivan’s testimony about not getting a driver’s license and that other students like him prefer to bike, walk and take transit, she was reminded that “we are building infrastructure for a new generation.” She followed her comment up noting that for many previous generations a car and driver’s license represented freedom; now this generation seeks freedom from a car and is finding different ways to get around.
Procedurally, the general fund portion of the bill ($3.2 million) was laid over for possible inclusion in the omnibus transportation finance bill. The bonding portion ($12.8 million) was laid over to be considered in the committee’s ranking of bonding projects that come within their jurisdiction. Those ranking recommendations will then be passed along to the House Capital Investment Committee chaired by Rep. Alice Hausman.
Next stop is Senate Transportation Finance Committee, then both House and Senate Capital Investment committees. Continue to check back for more updates!
Photos attached: First is Jodi Gertken, Patrick Sullivan, and House Transportation Finance Chair, Frank Hornstein. Second is Rep. Melissa Hortman (chief author of SRTS), Jodi Gertken, and Patrick Sullivan testifying before the House Transportation Finance Committee March 7, 2013 about HF797, the SRTS bill.