Wright County Commissioner Mike Potter oversaw his
first meeting Monday, Jan. 27 as the 2020 president of the Minnesota
Transportation Alliance (MTA).
The MTA is in its 127th year, making it the
oldest transportation lobbying firm in the country. It is a statewide coalition
of organizations advocating for a safe and effective transportation system that
works for all Minnesotans. Potter’s interest and experience with transportation
made him a nice fit with organization, because he wanted Wright County’s voice
to be heard at both the state and federal levels.
“I’ve been on the Transportation Alliance Board since
I came on as county commissioner,” Potter said. “I wanted to be with the people
that make the decisions where the transportation funding money goes. I’ve
always felt if you aren’t at the table, you’re on the menu, so I thought it was
important to work as closely with the Transportation Alliance as I could –
getting to know the key players and what they like and don’t like.”
Potter has spent the last three years on the MTA Executive
Committee, serving as secretary in 2017 and vice president in 2018, a natural progression
that has been utilized to select future MTA presidents.
The board is comprised of elected officials and
private sector members such as engineers and contractors. All bring their own
level of experience and expertise to the table and Potter believes it has been
a very effective group as it pertains to trying to get Wright County on the
radar at the state level and Minnesota on the map at the national level.
“When we have an issue, this is the group that
represents us not only in St. Paul, but in Washington D.C.,” Potter said. “It
has nothing to do with the Met Council. That’s a common misconception that is
completely inaccurate. The Transportation Alliance lobbies the State
Legislature and U.S. Congress and educates them about what the needs are here
and what funding sources are available to us.”
Potter will be attending the annual Washington D.C.
Fly-In May 19-21 with the hopes of getting Minnesota road needs heard and
prioritized. He doesn’t make any claims that the trip will be a success in
getting funding dollars allocated for Wright County or Minnesota projects, but
he knows nothing will happen if the MTA members simply stay home and do
“We’ve received funding for projects here that I
believe were the direct result of our lobbying efforts in Washington D.C.,”
Potter said. “We go every year because you can’t get anything done staying back
here in Minnesota and crossing your fingers. Sometimes, you have to go to them
so they’re aware of what your problems and issues are.”