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Frank Gross, Published February 24 2014

Letter: Join discussion of F-M transportation needs

In September, almost 100 residents and community leaders turned out to participate in Metro COG’s Transportation Futures Summits to support development of the Metro 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan for the F-M metropolitan area. Metro COG is pleased to announce the Metro 2040 Roundtable Discussions, to continue the update of the Metro 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan. This letter is a call to everyone to continue to stay involved in Metro 2040 as the process reaches yet another critical milestone. Here’s why:

• Metro 2040 affects all of us. As a multimodal plan, Metro 2040 represents the transportation needs for all transportation users. Metro 2040 will identify investments in roadways, MATBUS, bike and pedestrian infrastructure, and technology investments such as roadside message boards, traffic management systems and improved signal timing.

• Metro 2040 matters. In the past 25 years, almost every major transportation corridor in the Fargo-Moorhead metropolitan area has seen significant transportation investment, including millions of dollars of improvements in bicycle and transit systems. Looking ahead to the year 2040 we have before us a far-reaching 2040 Vision Plan that includes a broad range of needed transportation investments in the following areas:

- Arterial reconstruction and widening

- Interstate system improvements

- Future Red River bridge crossings

- Operational, maintenance and preservation needs

• About this phase of Metro 2040. Metro 2040 will guide the selection of projects, allocation of future transportation funding, and outline policy needs to manage transportation in the region over the next 25 years. The Metro 2040 Roundtable meetings are a follow-up to the September Futures Summit in which community resident’s and leaders identified local transportation needs. At the Metro 2040 Roundtable meetings, you will share your ideas to assist in prioritizing specific transportation improvements to manage transportation in the FM Metropolitan area over the next 25 years. Your input will feed directly into the selection of projects to be included in the final Metro 2040 plan, which comes out in just a few months.

• Metro 2040 will require hard choices. Not every transportation need can be funded by Metro 2040. Metro COG needs your input on which specific transportation improvements should receive the highest priority for funding.

Metro 2040 is your opportunity to get involved and help us make the right choices to create the kind of mobility you want in the future. Please visit www.metro2040.com to learn more about your opportunities to stay involved.

Gross is a Clay County commissioner and chairman, Metro COG Policy Board.