Transportation at the Capitol

MnDOTLast week, both the House and Senate Transportation Committees passed omnibus transportation bills. The Senate Finance Committee will be hearing supplemental finance bills Monday afternoon (today), including the transportation bill. Met Council Chair Alene Tchourumoff is scheduled to testify.

Today’s Transit at the Capitol update provides details on the hearings scheduled for this week at the Capitol, related to the transportation bills, as well as the Council’s bonding request for regional bus rapid transit projects. Per your request, the goal of this update is to keep transit stakeholders and the public informed about the latest activity at the Capitol, in addition to basic regional transit news. Please share with others you think would find this information useful – if someone would like to be added to the list, just send me an email.


Senate Transportation Omnibus Bill

Monday afternoon, beginning at 1 p.m., the Senate Finance Committee will be hearing several supplemental finance bills, including the transportation omnibus bill, SF3806. This bill was passed 9 to 6 in the Senate Transportation Finance Committee last week.

Today, Chair Alene Tchourumoff will testify before the Senate Finance Committee, to share concerns related to a number of the elements in the bill, including:

  • Prohibition of co-location of light rail and freight rail. (This would prohibit both the Southwest and Bottineau LRT projects.)
  • Requirement for Council’s “transit components” to be separated from the Council’s other divisions’ finances, use the state budgeting system, and switch from calendar year to the state fiscal year.  (The Council works on a calendar year to align with local governments. This provision would require the Council to create a new accounting system and operate two separate systems going forward.) The fiscal note on this provision is $11 million for the next fiscal year, and $7.6 million in ongoing costs for each biennium into the future.
  • Requires the Council to include three revenue scenarios in the Transportation Policy Plan.
  • Limits light rail operating costs to existing system, which would essentially cap service levels at the time of enactment, limiting the ability to increase frequency or service hours in the future. It would also remove the state 50 percent share of LRT operating costs for Bottineau or other future LRT lines (there is already a provision restricting state funding for Southwest LRT).


Bonding request for regional bus rapid transit projects

The House Transportation Finance Committee will be hearing a presentation Wednesday morning on the Council’s regional bus rapid transit bonding request. Chair Tchourumoff will be testifying before the committee, which meets at 8:15 a.m.

As previously shared, the Council has a $50 million bonding request focused on meeting the growing transit needs of our region. The $50 million for busway corridor projects would help further develop the BRT regional system, potentially including the following projects:

  • D Line (Chicago-Emerson Ave. from Brooklyn Center to Mpls. to Bloomington)
  • B Line (Lake St.-Marshall Ave.)
  • E Line (Hennepin Ave.)
  • Design and construction of up to seven additional rapid bus corridors and express bus improvements related to the Orange Line (Burnsville-Mpls) and the Gold Line (East Metro)

You can learn more about bus rapid transit by watching this video.

Advocates of the proposed D Line, which is in development phase now, have expressed their support of the bonding request, including:

  • Letter of support from Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Letter of support from Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Letter of support from Bloomington Chamber of Commerce
  • Resolution in support from the Minneapolis Downtown Council
  • Resolution in support from the City of Bloomington
  • Resolution in support from the City of Minneapolis
  • Resolution in support from the City of Brooklyn Center
  • Resolution in support from the I-494 Corridor Commission
  • Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce, Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce and East Metro Strong together launched

Weekly Update 3.20.2018

Greetings Members! I am excited to see everyone at the State of the City member meetings this Friday. If you haven’t registered yet, please be sure to do that today. I would like to remind you that we are also hosting a food drive for VEAP and to please bring your non-perishable food items, or a monetary donation, to the meeting.

We had a great meeting last week with our B.E.E.R. partners. We will be focusing on technology this year and Former governor Tim Pawlenty spoke on the 4th Industrial Revolution and the impact technology will have on business in our state. It is a great time to look at your organization and determine how you will use technology to continue to grow.

One economic indicator that Pawlenty spoke of was the lack of skilled labor and the impact it is having on our automotive, healthcare and technology industries. The Chamber has chosen to tackle the automotive career pathway first. Last year, we started the conversation to develop partnerships with our automotive members and our schools to be at the forefront of this issue. We identified these strategic partnerships within our community to help not only our automotive members thrive, but our community as well. Please take a minute to read the below article on why we need to rethink a career in these fields.

Why You Deserve A Career In The New Auto Industry

By Jane Applegate,

Decades ago, working in the automotive industry was one of the best jobs in the nation. Things changed for a while, but thanks to improvements in manufacturing and technology, these jobs are looking great again. In fact, it’s important that new people enter this field, as people will need these services.

If you are thinking about launching a new career, read on to learn more about why the auto industry is a great choice. Not only can you learn some valuable skills, it can be more affordable than you thought.

Not Your Father’s Industry

Life has changed a lot since Model-T’s were rolling off the line, and the automotive industry has caught up. Investopedia shows that the industry has changed a lot since the hard times in 2012. Automakers are seeing brisk sales, so they need industry workers to meet the increasing demand. Analysts are predicting a slow but steady increase in car sales because people in America, Europe, and China need American-made vehicles.

Then what can you expect from an automotive industry career? While this can vary from job to job, Liberty Staffing Services explains one big benefit is stability. Many technology-based industries are chaotic and fast-moving. It seems like those companies appear and disappear every day. While the auto industry is always updating its technology, the market for cars has steadily grown. In other words, you can expect your job to be secure for a long time to come. In addition, auto workers continue to enjoy higher pay and benefits than other career options. That’s true for working in a repair center or a factory.

Learning A New Career

Can anyone get one of these stable, good-paying jobs? It’s not like you can just walk from high school graduation into an auto plant. shows you need training from an automotive tech school. That’s because modern cars are more than just some sheets of metal and glass. Engines are detailed and complex, and these days, combined with computers and digital technology.

To work on designing cars, you will need a college degree in mechanical engineering or automotive technology engineering. suggests you can start in high school by taking auto shop classes. These can give you a practical understanding of how cars work, which helps you do better in your college classes.

Whether you are fresh from high school or looking to change careers, there are grants and scholarships available to help pay for your education. lists many of these, including Pell grants, GI Bill programs, and the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers. Women are eligible for special financial aid from the Automotive Women’s Alliance and the Car Care Council Women’s Board.

Enjoy An Automotive Career

The demand for cars has not fallen. Everyone needs to get to work, home, and take trips. That’s why the automotive industry has revitalized in recent years. To get a new career in this industry, look for tech schools and degrees in engineering. Grants and scholarships can help pay for it, but don’t forget about the value of an organized garage at home. This way, you can be successful in your new, stable, and well-paying career.

Welcome to 2018 with the Richfield Chamber of Commerce!

Welcome to 2018 with the Richfield Chamber of Commerce! We have some great plans in store for our members this year.  Here’s a brief overview of what to expect: Marketing! Marketing is one of the most important components of a successful business. It is also one of the trickiest areas to tackle. Our Chamber members made great strides in marketing last year when we introduced our Community Connections email.

Community Connections introduced you to other Chamber members with the hope that you would reach out to each other and continue the conversation that was started in the email; and it worked! I heard from more members that they were actively engaged with other Chamber members more than they ever had been. The Community Connections email was the ice breaker everyone was looking for, and a great segway into starting your own conversations. In 2018 we would like to take that conversation one step further. The internet has become our go-to resource for finding businesses.

When you are looking for something, how do you go about finding it? You either ask a friend for their personal recommendation (which you can now give because of the community connections you’ve made); Or you read the reviews on-line. The Chamber will be sending you a weekly email, featuring 3 Chamber businesses and an easy link for you to create your google review of them. We encourage you to take 10 minutes, once a week to write a thoughtful review of the businesses that you are familiar with. This is a great way to help your local Chamber members increase their on-line profile by increasing their organic google search results. I am so excited to see all of our members moving forward together! Let’s keep the momentum going!

Making Connections

Making Connections!
Anne Schultz, President


Greetings Members! Welcome again to our weekly update! There has been a constant theme this at the Chamber and that is, “making connections.” In an effort to increase our business network, we have created opportunities for members to come together outside of our monthly member meetings.  The addition of our morning coffee meetings and after work happy hours, have been well attended and great opportunities for members to make new connections. Our next member Happy Hour is this Thursday, October 26, at Concierge Apartments. We hope you can make it! In addition to these meetings, Chamber Ambassador Jose Ramirez, realtor with Keller Williams, has been meeting with members and creating short informational videos. These videos are an excellent way for you to relay your company message to a broad audience. Check out Jose’s latest video with Richfield Historical Director, Alyssa Swanson on our Facebook page. If you would like to create a video, contact Jose today to schedule a meeting.

Another update the Chamber would like to discuss is the 66thstreet project. It is well underway and we want to hear your feedback of how it’s going. In order for the Chamber to work with the city on future projects, it is important for us to understand the needs of our members and how these current projects have affected them. If you have a business along or near 66th Street, here are a few key resources to know about. There is a website set-up at which has a general overview of the project and estimated timelines. If you have a specific question or concern on the project, you can call Angela at 612.444.3186 or email, There is also afacebook page that the City of Richfield updates. If you have more questions or concerns about the project please contact me today to discuss.

Community Connections: Sue Basiago

Welcome again to Community Connections where each week we like to highlight a member of our Chamber! This week, as a sponsor of today’s Member Meeting discussing leadership, it is my pleasure to introduce you to the leader of Midland Title, Sue Basiago. Sue acquired Midland Title in 2008 and has grown the company ever since. Midland Title just opened their 3rd location in Grand Rapids, Minnesota!

Sue loves the changing of the seasons that Minnesota has to offer. In addition to a wonderful natural environment, she also appreciates that most Minnesotans display a high level of intelligence, a trait worth bragging about! One of Sue’s great strengths is her commitment to giving back to local communities. Part of her commitment of civic service, the employees at Midland Title are given the opportunity each year to contribute financially to a non-profit of their choosing. Through this generous spirit, Midland Title was recently awarded membership to The Minnesota Keystone Program.

The Minnesota Keystone Program recognizes companies that donate at least two percent of their pre-tax earnings to the community. In 1976, 23 Minnesota companies started this program (originally called the 5% Club) to recognize charitable giving and to set an example for other Minnesota companies. The commitment of Keystone participants promises to sustain Minnesota’s spirit of generosity and sense of community. We are proud to have Midland Title as an active chamber member and an example of a positive company doing business in our community!

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