Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - Transportation issues dominated Thursday’s joint meeting of the Rochester City Council and the Destination Medical Center Corporation Board.

An update on the current status of the planning process concerning the community’s transit needs turned into a free-wheeling discussion on how to push or entice Mayo Clinic employees and other downtown commuters to leave their personal vehicles and use other modes of transit. The DMC plan has identified a goal of shifting 30-percent of regular traffic in downtown Rochester to public transit, bicycles and pedestrian modes over the next 20 years. The discussion did not lead to any solutions, but most everyone involved agreed it is among the crucial challenges facing the DMC initiative.

The DMCC Board and the City Council were told that city staff will be seeking authorization next month to enter into contracts with consultants to conduct four studies needed to apply for federal funding to help cover the hefty price tag for upgrading Rochester’s transportation systems. City Public Works Director Richard Freese indicated it could take about a year to reach the point where the preferred options for the downtown transit circulator and other improvements can be identified and the level of detail concerning costs and engineering is high enough to seek federal grants.