Investing in a region-wide transit system is a significant step toward reducing Minnesota’s global warming pollution. Think about this: there will be one million additional people living in Minnesota by 2030. If Minnesota had a 21st century transit system, it would reduce car travel by nearly two billion miles. That’s no small amount!
Thanks to the region’s new quarter-cent sales tax increase, there is about $85 million per year in new funding for the capital and operating costs of light rail, commuter rail, and bus rapid transit projects. In 2010, that money will pay for half of the operating costs of the Hiawatha light rail line, the Northstar commuter rail line between Minneapolis and Big Lake (which opens November 16, 2009), the I-35W bus rapid transit project between Lakeville and Minneapolis (which opens at the end of September of 2009), capital costs for the Central Corridor light rail line (opening in 2014), and the costs of studies for Southwest light rail, Bottineau Blvd. transitway, and several East Metro corridors.
Transit for Livable Communities and the Transit Partners coalition has long advocated for completing the Metropolitan Council’s 2030 Transit Plan by 2020-allowing the transit system to respond to unprecedented demand for bus and train service. We cannot afford to wait any longer to provide convenient, energy-efficient transportation options in the Twin Cities region and greater Minnesota.
The 2030 Twin Cities Metro Area Transit Plan Includes:
- Additional transitways (i.e. light rail, commuter rail, and bus rapid transit)
- New higher speed, limited-stop arterial bus service in Minneapolis, St. Paul and surrounding suburbs
- New local and express bus service
- Improved transit facilities (e.g. covered shelters and benches) along with new park and ride capacity
- Improved bicycle and pedestrian connections to transit
What can you do to make a difference?
- Talk to your legislator about the importance of securing funding for better transit.
- Support your local transit provider by riding the bus or train.
- Ask your city council members to speak up for streets that are safer for bicycling or walking.
We all can make a difference in reducing our global warming pollution. Bringing our transit system into the 21st century is a great place to start!