Transportation investments improve quality of life for all
Sometimes people look at the Met Council and wonder what we do. We fund regional parks, we provide housing for people with low incomes, we run transit, and we’re even in the clean water business. What do these things have in common?
They improve the quality of life for people in the seven-county metro region. In a nutshell, the Met Council exists to look at the big picture and help communities work together to leave the region a better place for future generations.
That’s why Governor Dayton’s transportation and transit plan is so exciting to me. Next to clean water, there is no other issue we will work on that will touch so many lives on a daily basis. Congestion in the metro area is costly to everyone right now:
Businesses pay $232 million year in extra freight costs because of gridlocked roads.
The average motorist in the Twin Cities pays an extra $395 a year in vehicle repairs and spends 35 hours stuck in traffic.
The total cost of congestion to the region’s economy is a staggering $1.2 billion a year.
The problem won’t get better on its own. By the time a child in kindergarten today turns 30, there will be another 800,000 people living in the region. However, the funding resources available right now are hardly adequate to maintain our current system of roads and transit. If we don’t take action now, future generations will inherit a region with more gridlock and fewer competitive advantages to attract new jobs and industry to the area.
Governor Dayton’s plan to address this problem is bold. He would add a wholesale tax to gasoline sold in the state that will generate $11 billion over the next decade to upgrade 2,200 miles of road and 330 bridges statewide. An additional ½-cent sales tax to be levied in the seven-county metro area would generate another $2.8 million for transit.
With half of the state’s roads more than 50 years old and 40% of our bridges at the 40-year mark, we must begin to address our statewide infrastructure needs right now. The investment we make in transit will improve access to buses and light rail to over a million people and put another 500,000 metro residents within a half-hour transit ride to work.
I know that all of us at the Met Council—as well as the people who work for counties and communities around the region—are proud of the work they do to improve the quality of life for people in this region. The governor’s transportation funding plan will leave our region a better place for the generations to follow.
By Adam Duininck