Sustainable Transportation Advisory Council Releases Recommendations

March 1, 2021 | | Education

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) Sustainable Transportation Advisory Council (STAC) has come forward with its initial recommendations to decarbonize transportation in Minnesota. MnDOT will respond to these first recommendations by mid-March while STAC members continue to develop the next round of recommendations during 2021. The 22-member council includes individuals representing the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, including Rolf Nordstrom, president and CEO of the Great Plains Institute, which facilitates Drive Electric Minnesota.

According to the STAC’s charter, their goal is to “help Minnesota transition to a low-carbon transportation system in a way that is consistent with statutory goals for energy and emissions reductions and maximizes benefits to Minnesota, while recognizing the importance of continued work towards improving safety, reducing inequities, and supporting economic development.” Transportation continues to be the highest emitting greenhouse gas sector.

Members of the STAC met five times since its inception to consider and refine recommendations for MnDOT, developed by three work groups that dug deeper into key topics:

  • how vehicles can be powered and fueled in the future (co-chaired by GPI’s Rolf Nordstrom and Katie Frye from Minnesota Power)
  • reducing vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and overall transportation improvements,
  • improving the climate resilience of the transportation system

Top recommendations from the work groups are listed below. The transportation system resilience workgroup will provide initial recommendations to MnDOT in 2021.

Top recommendations from the Powering and Fueling Transportation Work Group:

  1. Develop a clean fuels policy.
  2. Establish rebates for public and private light-, medium-, and heavy-duty electric vehicles (EVs), including dealership support and consumer rebates.
  3. Increase investment in EV charging infrastructure, beyond existing VW settlement investments.

Top recommendations from the Reduce VMT and Improve Transportation Options Work Group:

  1. Adopt a statewide goal of reducing VMT by 20% by 2050.
  2. Stop expanding highway capacity to reduce congestion.
  3. Prioritize transit and high occupancy vehicles on MnDOT owned right of way.

Recommendations were approved by the following voting members of the STAC:

  • Chris Clark, Co-Chair – President, Xcel Energy Inc.
  • Katie Bell – Private Sector EV & Infrastructure Manufacturing Expert
  • Katie Frye – Minnesota Power
  • Dorian Grilley – Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota
  • Greg Ilkka – Steele County
  • Katie Jones – The Center for Energy and Environment
  • Ashwat Narayanan – Our Streets Minneapolis
  • Michael Noble – Fresh Energy
  • Rolf Nordstrom – Great Plains Institute
  • Daniel Schellhammer – Midstate Reclamation, Inc.
  • Patrick Seeb – Destination Medical Center
  • Russ Stark – City of St. Paul
  • Emma Struss – City of Bloomington
  • Vishnu Laalitha Surapaneni – University of Minnesota Medical Center
  • Lisa Thurstin – American Lung Association – Twin Cities Clean Coalition
  • Peter Wagenius – Sierra Club North Star Chapter
  • Tara Wetzel – Mathy Construction Company
  • LaShella Sims – Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Environmental Justice Advisory Group

The full STAC Recommendations Summary is available to read on MnDOT’s website.

This post was adapted from a post that originally appeared on the Great Plains Institute website.

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