The Minnesota Legislature created the Council more than four decades ago to plan and coordinate the orderly growth and development of the seven-county area. The Legislature directed the Council to plan for regional systems — transportation, aviation, wastewater, and regional parks and open space. The Council’s core mission also includes efficiently operating transit, wastewater treatment services, and administering housing assistance programs for households with low incomes.
The Council's work is performed by three primary organizational divisions: community development, environmental services, and transportation, with support from administrative and service units. The Council has approximately 4,250 employees and annual expenditures of approximately $400 million to carry out its planning and service functions.
The Community Development Division is responsible for the Council’s regional growth strategy, planning and technical assistance to local communities, and parks and open space. This division also includes the Metropolitan Housing and Redevelopment Authority (Metro HRA) and the Livable Communities program.
The Environmental Services Division (MCES) operates and maintains approximately 640 miles of regional sewers and treats up to 250 million gallons of wastewater daily at eight regional treatment plants. Serving nearly 95% of the seven-county area population, MCES provides cost-effective wastewater service to 108 communities.
The Transportation Division includes Metro Transit and Metropolitan Transportation Services.
Metro Transit is one of the country's largest transit systems, providing roughly 95% of the 73 million bus trips taken annually in the Twin Cities. Each weekday customers board Metro Transit buses an average of 231,000 times. Metro Transit operates 137 routes — 70 local-service routes and 51 express routes — and 16 contract service routes, using a fleet of 913 buses. The majority of the company's fleet (790) are standard 40-foot buses while 115 are articulated ("accordion") buses, with 16 small buses, and two coach buses. All Metro Transit buses are equipped with wheelchair lifts or ramps. It also promotes alternative modes of transportation and travel-demand management organizations in the region.
Metropolitan Transportation Services develops the overarching transportation plan for the region and prepares the short-range capital improvement program for all transportation projects using federal transportation funds. It also coordinates regional aviation system planning. The unit operates Metro Mobility, the region’s primary service for people with disabilities, Transit Link, and a network of 42 regular routes run by private providers under contract to the Council.
Within these primary divisions are departments that support the day-to-day work of the Council.
Regional Administration provides support services for the entire Council.