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Land use tied to gas emissions

Published (3/13/2009)
By Sue Hegarty
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Committee approval was given to a bill that would require developers to consider how far people would have to travel to the destination and available modes of transportation.

Sponsored by Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Mpls), HF898 would establish policies to reduce the number of motor vehicle trips people drive and appropriates money for a competitive grant program and for a transportation study.

Approved on a split voice-vote March 5 in the House Environment Policy and Oversight Committee, it was sent to the House State and Local Government Operations Reform, Technology and Elections Committee.

The University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies would be allotted $250,000 from the General Fund to develop a model for use by local governments and the Metropolitan Council for strategies that reduce both miles traveled and carbon emissions. The council would allocate $500,000 to assist local government in implementing new policies.

An unspecified amount would be available to establish the Sensible Communities Grant Program, administered by the Environmental Quality Board. Grantees would work to change local ordinances to encourage more pedestrian and bicycle traffic, protect the ecosystem and expand housing opportunities.

The bill would also impact how and where a new school could be built, with consideration given to the energy costs associated with the location, such as pupil transportations costs.

Its companion, SF549, sponsored by Sen. D. Scott Dibble (DFL-Mpls), awaits action by the Senate Education Committee.

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