Metropolitan Council Facts

Fostering a prosperous region

The Metropolitan Council plans for the future of the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro area in partnership with 188 communities and seven counties. We provide cost-effective transit and wastewater services, assist households with low and moderate incomes to find affordable housing, and support communities as they plan for anticipated growth. Our mission is to foster efficient and economic growth for a prosperous metropolitan region.

The Council develops, in cooperation with local communities, a Regional Development Frameworka set of policies to guide the efficient growth of the region and help maintain the region’s economic competitiveness. The current framework is Thrive MSP 2040. The desired outcomes of Thrive are stewardship, prosperity, equity, livability, and sustainability. We measure all of the Council's policies and services by these outcomes.

Supporting the region's economic vitality

photo of a man, woman, child, and dog walking down a pathThe Council’s planning and services provide a foundation for regional economic vitality. The Council: 

  • Operates Metro Transit, which carried 81.9 million bus and rail passengers in 2017. The agency was named the American Public Transportation Association's System of the Year in 2016.  

  • Makes strategic investments in a growing network of bus and rail transitways, and transit-oriented development. 

  • Collects and treats wastewater for 90% of the region’s population at rates 42% below average for similar-sized systems across the U.S., and earns state and national awards for environmental successes. 

  • Plans and funds acquisition and development of a world-class regional parks and trails system that attracts nearly 48 million visitors a year. 

  • Assists more than 6,500 households with low and moderate incomes to find and stay in affordable rental housing.

How the Council is governed 

The Council was established by the Minnesota Legislature in 1967. Our jurisdiction comprises the counties of Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott and Washington. 

The Council’s governing board has 17 members; they are appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the governor. Sixteen members represent geographic districts of roughly equal population across the region. The Council chair, the 17th member, serves at large. The current Council Chair is Alene Tchourumoff.

The role of Council members is to provide a regional perspective and work toward a regional consensus on issues facing the metropolitan area. All meetings of the Council and its subcommittees are open to the public. 

Council staff is organized in four major divisions that focus on: transportation planning; transit operations; wastewater treatment and water supply and quality; and community development. Administrative and service units support all major divisions. 

Highlights in 2017

  • Kudos for Metro Transit’s Technician Training Program. The National Transit Institute bestowed a Model Program award on this industry-leading workforce development program. Under the program, a new class of recruits each year completes empowerment training, tutoring and job shadowing either bus or rail technicians. In the second and third year of the program, participants work towards a customized two-year degree from Hennepin Technical College while they work as full-time mechanic interns for Metro Transit. Metro Transit developed the program in partnership with the Amalgamated Transit Union-Local 1005, Twin Cities R!se, and Hennepin Technical College. The first group of bus mechanics will graduate in June 2018.
  • Preserving affordable housing and water quality. The Council approved a grant for nearly $235,000 to cover half the cost of connecting homes in Corcoran's Maple Hill Estates manufactured home park to the regional wastewater system. 
  • Assisting communities updating their comprehensive plans. The Council's Local Planning Assistance department supported local planners with a variety of resources as communities updated their local comprehensive plans. The Council's PlanIt program includes webinars, workshops, seminars, and conferences. The Council's online Local Planning Handbook also includes a series of online tutorials and expert articles on all things related to comprehensive planning. 
  • Working with local elected officials to select transportation projects for federal funding. The Council signed off on a large slate of metro-area transportation projects to add to the state's list of local highway, bridge, transit, bicycle and pedestrian projects recommended for federal funding. Among the new projects added were 55 local projects in the seven-county metro area, totaling $217 million, that the Council's Transportation Advisory Board selected in a competitive process called the Regional Solicitation.
  • Partnering with communities on redevelopment and development. In 2017, the Council awarded $27 million in Livable Communities grants to support local projects that revitalize brownfields and create jobs; spur transit-oriented development; and create affordable housing. The grants help leverage hundreds of millions of dollars in other public and private investments. 

Council revenues and expenditures

The Council relies on several funding sources. In 2018, 37% of the Council’s revenue will come from user fees for wastewater treatment and transit services, and 48% from state and federal funds. About 9% of revenue is raised from a seven-county property tax and 6% from other sources. 

The Council’s 2018 adopted budget expenditures total just over $1 billion. The operating budget of $758.2 million (71.7% of expenditures) covers daily expenses, mostly for regional transit service and wastewater treatment. Debt service of $176.5 million (16.7%) covers payments on the Council’s long-term capital bonds and loans. Pass-through funds totaling $122.7 million (11.6%) come primarily from federal sources (and some state funds) that the Council receives and allocates to local governments, agencies, and rental property owners for transportation, regional parks, rent assistance, and other programs.