Nearly 80 policy advisors from 19 states have gathered in Minnesota's capital of St. Paul for a growth and quality of life forum sponsored by the National Governors' Association (NGA) Center for Best Practices.
The two-day forum, which ends later today (Friday), gives governors and their senior advisors a chance to discuss "smart growth" policy and ways to implement effective programs.
In a new report called "In the Fast Lane: Delivering More Transportation Choices To Break Gridlock," NGA's Center for Best Practices cites Minnesota transportation policies as a model for other states. The report was released in conjunction with the forum.
"Despite spending more than $100 billion annually on ground transportation projects, traffic congestion remains the No. 1 quality-of-life complaint of Americans," said Joel Hirschhorn, Director of the Natural Resources Policy Studies Division at NGA. "Some states, including Minnesota, however, are out in front of the issue and are in the fast lane toward fixing the problem, specifically by creatively combining transportation and growth planning initiatives. If we think of benchmarking outstanding performance of state transportation systems, Minnesota helps set the standard for excellence for the nation."
The report says Gopher State "best practices" include:
Minnesota was also recognized for its pioneering work in creating management plans for seven interregional highway corridors. Instead of projects being divided by county or city lines, the state looks at key transportation corridors as a whole, causing communities towork together to determine their transportation needs and how to address them.
The forum is part of Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening's year-long initiative as NGA chairman, "Where Do We Grow From Here." It is designed to help the nation's governors better steer future growth, increase preservation of natural resources, encourage community revitalization, and ensure that Americans maintain a high quality of life.
States represented include Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont and Wisconsin.
Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, the forum's host, is one of nine governors on NGA's Growth and Quality of Life Task Force.
The National Governors Association is the instrument through which the nation's governors collectively influence the development and implementation of national policy and apply creative leadership to state issues. Its members are the governors of the fifty states, three territories and two commonwealths.