Making the case for transit
The legislative process can be tough. This week House and Senate leaders proposed a series of bills aimed at transit, and not in a good way.
The House majority caucus sought to cut funding for new transit projects and limit the ability of local governments to plan and develop new large scale transitways. Another bill in the House would set a 40% farebox recovery rate that, if enacted, would devastate ridership and cripple local bus service.
The Senate opted to do nothing with transit at all, allowing a budget deficit to go unsolved and major issues with the long-term funding for Metro Mobility to continue unaddressed.
There’s no doubt about it, this was a tough week at the Capitol.
The good news is that none of these proposals are the last word. The legislative session is a discussion about the issues, and sometimes that discussion can wander off topic. While these bills are bad, the members of our legislative team have seen worse.
Our job is to continue to tell the story of transit and to turn to our partners in the many ventures around the region. Every large business group in the region has endorsed an expansion of our transit system, every community along the Southwest LRT line has endorsed the project, and put up millions in local funding to back it.
The proposed 20 transitways, 46 new local bus routes and 77 expanded routes are necessary to serve the region’s growing needs. By 2040, we’ll have another 800,000 people living in the seven-county metro region. It’s important to keep telling the positive story about transit, because in the end our plan to build out a regional transit system represents progress.
Transit is the future.