Members of the Minnesota Legislature
Minnesota State Capitol
St. Paul, MN 55155
We are writing today on behalf of the 700 members of the TwinWest Chamber of Commerce to communicate the importance of transit to the business community and reiterate our support for the completion of the Southwest Light Rail transit line. A robust transit system is a critical component in a comprehensive transportation plan to support and encourage regional competitiveness, economic vitality, and the attraction and retention of workforce.
Businesses are in a fierce competition to attract the best and the brightest talent to help maintain and grow the economy in their state, their region, and their community. The ability of a region to attract and maintain that talent will help drive the economy. My members tell me often that access to workers is the #1 impediment to their ability to grow. Accessibility to transit is incredibly important in efforts to attract workers to the region.
60-80,000 more jobs are expected to grow along the Southwest Light Rail corridor over the next two decades—that is roughly the population of St. Cloud. Improved transit options will be critical in getting workers to those jobs and allowing employers to reach out to potential employees from the greater metropolitan area. Companies will go and grow where they are best able to meet the needs of their business. Make no mistake, the cities that we are competing with for the federal transit dollars are the same cities we compete with for talent and jobs.
The economic benefits to our region have already been realized in the already completed, and the future development projects being planned for this corridor. A few examples of these projects that are completed or currently under construction include, developments of senior and market rate housing at the Wooddale Station in St. Louis Park, a new large corporate campus for United Health Group at City Center in Eden Prairie, and a major hospital expansion project near the Louisiana Station.
I ask that you allow the Southwest Light Rail project to move forward as part of a robust, and much needed, comprehensive transportation plan that addresses not just the transit need, but roads and bridges as well. All components are critical to our current, and future, economic and regional competitiveness.
Deb McMillan, Director of Government Affairs
TwinWest Chamber of Commerce