Thank you for your insightful article and publication of community leader evaluations of R.T. Rybak’s tenure as mayor. (Southwest Journal, December 19-January 1) The published commentaries contained several references to Rybak’s important leadership in enhancing bike lane expansion in the city. He also played a key role in promoting public transportation and investments in roads and bridges.
Late in his first term, I worked closely with Mayor Rybak to improve express bus service on I-35W from Lakeville to Downtown Minneapolis. Rybak understood clearly the importance of building bipartisan alliances with suburban communities to move forward on transit projects. His work on the 3 W issue helped secure needed federal dollars that resulted in significantly improved bus service downtown as evidenced in the enhanced transit infrastructure at 2nd and Marquette.
During his second term, Rybak worked hard with mayors and municipalities around the state to build support for the 2008 transportation bill. That legislation provided new revenue for roads, and bridges all across Minnesota, and a new sales tax for metro transitways. The bill became law after the Legislature overrode a veto from then-Governor Pawlenty.
Just last year, Rybak single-handedly convinced a key legislator to back Minneapolis’s plan to fund initial development for streetcars in the city. As a result, Minneapolis will be able to initiate its streetcar development plan.
R.T. Rybak had many achievements during his three terms as mayor. His accomplishments as a key leader on transportation are an a important part of his legacy.
State Representative, District 61A
Chair, Transportation Finance Committee