amiller92 wrote: ↑
August 3rd, 2017, 12:10 pm
David Greene wrote: ↑
August 3rd, 2017, 10:39 am
Slowing urban freeway expansion... and directing some of that money to Greater MN does that in a significant way.
We should be stopping urban freeway expansion for it's own sake. Whether that money is well-used elsewhere depends a lot on what's being proposed. This, for example, does not seem like a good use of money (no idea where the funding came from): https://firstname.lastname@example.org ... 312!8i6656
Again, we're talking about political messaging, not policy. You can't go out as a statewide or even county-wide candidate and say, "Stop all urban freeway expansion!" You'll lose. Badly.
The DFL needs to spend time shifting the conversation and they haven't done that. They either concentrate too much on policy details that they lose the forest for the trees or are so vanilla-generic that it ends up reinforcing the Republican worldview rather than shifting people's thoughts to a different worldview and/or the possibility of something different and better.
Talking about concrete proposals is important and must be tailored to the audience. Saying that this-or-that rural road project is terrible is not correctly addressing one's audience, whether urban or rural.
This is the problem with many OurRevolution folks. They have good ideas but aren't necessarily advocating for them in the most effective ways. Take some pages from the marriage amendment and voter ID fights. Talk to people in rural areas, meeting them where they are and leading them to consider alternative viewpoints and ideas, framed within their lived experiences.
This is stuff individual candidates can help with, but can't do by themselves. It needs organized grassroots efforts. People are out there doing it, but not enough on certain issues and transportation is one of those.
If I was helping to lead a transportation campaign and/or helping a candidate message on transportation (and unfortunately I don't have the bandwidth to do any of that right now), I'd message something like this:
Common: We care about responsible budgeting and responsible infrastructure development. Everyone needs to be able to get around, no matter their situation. Transportation is about connecting people and communities. Connections nourish our souls and strengthen our economies. We should always keep in mind that our goal is to connect people, not just move vehicles around. Transportation is also about environmental stewardship. Climate Change is a fact and we have to contend with it. About 1/3 of our climate-changing emissions comes from transportation so we need to reconsider what we're doing. Transportation is intimately tied to land use and so as we develop new transportation strategies we should also consider new ways of living. That doesn't mean forcing people to live a certain way, but rather providing choices. That's true freedom.
Urban: No one wants to sit in traffic and no one wants to breathe smog. We're spending an awful lot of money building freeways through expensive land with questionable benefits (cite and explain things like the Stillwater bridge, 610, etc. depending on the audience, talk about environmental impacts vs. transportation benefits, disconnection of people by giant road corridors, etc.). We do need to do some strategic expansion (cite things like Crosstown Commons + Access + Orange Line, MN-36 grade separation) but we should be focused on maintaining what we have because we can't even afford that right now. We simply cannot do major metro freeway expansion given the financial and environmental realities. In addition to spot freeway expansion, let's use our expanded sales tax to improve the mobility and accessibility of transit. Explain aBRT and BRT depending on the audience, even LRT if friendly enough. Emphasize that transit is a way to *avoid* congestion and that it's not realistic to expect transit to reduce congestion. Be honest and realistic. Point out that we can direct some highway funding to help boost transit. We can provide more options for people to live near transit and/or work. We can provide more options (e.g. park & rides) to shorten the distances people need to drive in the suburbs. We can do suburban infill to provide more amenities closer to where people are at.
Rural: We're spending a lot of money building freeways on expensive metro land. We don't think we need to spend so much because is disproportionately costly in terms of money and environmental harm. We can shift some of that money around. We think putting some of that money into urban transit is a better investment in urban mobility and better for the urban environment. That will free up some road and transit dollars for Greater MN. We know project XYZ (cite road AND transit improvements) is important in your area and we want to help it happen (obviously only talk about projects you think are worthwhile). Here's one way to budget things so that XYZ happens within ABC timeframe. We're committed to this. Help us make it happen!
This is all necessarily somewhat generic but it starts opening people to new ideas. I probably don't have all the right messaging in all the right places but hopefully this gives a general idea of (subtly?) different ways of talking about transportation in a way that is approachable to people. This is just a start. No one has all the answers. In my experience, the best messaging comes out of a focused group of people.
In all cases, be ready to answer challenging questions. If someone asks about a project, as best you can be realistic about its costs, benefits and political reality. If you think a project is worthwhile, state why and declare your support. If not, state why and provide *realistic* alternatives. Explain why you think it's better and why it's realistic.