2016 Accomplishments


COUNCIL-WIDE & REGIONAL ADMINISTRATION

 
Preserving affordable housing and water quality with SAC subsidies

Equity is one of the five outcomes of Thrive MSP 2040, the Metropolitan Council’s long-term regional plan. Equity means connecting all of the region’s residents to opportunity regardless of their race, ethnicity, income, and ability. With Thrive MSP 2040, the Council has committed to using equity as a lens to evaluate its operations, planning, and investments.

In 2016, the Council allocated $250,000 to the Manufactured Home Park Preservation Project. This multi-divisional project involves housing policy, connecting manufactured home parks to the regional wastewater treatment system, and environmental and water quality considerations. The first part of this two-part project involved the creation of a baseline report, which evaluates the current state of the region’s manufactured home parks and examines the policy levers that the Council could use to help preserve them. The second part involves a pilot grant program to defray the costs of connecting one manufactured home park to the regional wastewater treatment system by using a 50/50 match structure (up to $250,000) to cover assessed regional Sewer Availability Charges (SAC).

The report is intended to inform future Council decisions and foster a larger dialogue concerning the importance of manufactured home parks and collective means to preserve them. Manufactured homes are an important source of unsubsidized affordable housing for low-income residents and residents of color (especially Latino residents) in suburban communities. Surveys and research show that park closures disproportionately displace households of color. Loss of these parks would undermine equity by disconnecting low-income households and residents of color from the unique opportunities offered by suburban communities.
 

Council ramps up workforce development
Strengthening relationships with communities
Equity Advisory Committee up and running


PLANNING & COMMUNITIES

 
Grants support local planning activities

As part of the decennial comprehensive planning process, the Metropolitan Council provides financial support to communities to update their local comprehensive plans. As directed by the Metropolitan Land Planning Act, the Council focuses on communities that have a demonstrated need for financial assistance. In 2016, the Council adopted eligibility criteria to define that need, including a community’s net tax capacity per capita and the community’s forecasted rate of growth. These criteria identified 4 different categories of grantees for a total grant program amount of nearly $1.9 million:

  • 43 sewered communities: $32,000 maximum award each

  • 3 unsewered communities: $20,000 maximum award each

  • 21 small cities: $10,000 maximum award each

  • 3 counties/consortiums, representing 34 townships: $84,000 maximum award each

As of the end of 2016, the Council was processing applications and will issue the first half of the planning grants in 2017. 

PlanIt resources assist local planners
LCA grants encourage redevelopment, affordable housing, create jobs


HOUSING

 
Metro HRA implements Community Choice Program

Metro HRA implemented Community Choice, a mobility counseling program designed to assist voucher holders to move to areas of opportunity. As of December 2016, there were 12 low-income families living in new neighborhoods and receiving post-move counseling services through this program. Community Choice promotes equitable outcomes, ensuring rent-assisted families have access to all neighborhoods in the region, particularly those with above-average school performance and low poverty. 

Metro HRA receives highest ranking from HUD
Homeless veterans get housing, support services
New online system creates efficiences


REGIONAL PARKS

 
Regional parks continue to be a top metro attraction

Twin Cities metro area residents love their parks. The Regional Parks System includes 54 regional parks and reserves, comprising nearly 55,000 acres; about 350 miles of interconnected trails, and 8 special recreation features, such as Como Zoo and Conservatory. The number of annual visits to regional parks and trails was 47.3 million in 2015 (the latest figure available). For context, the Mall of America receives about 40 million annual visits. 
 

Parks investments protect environment, raise quality of life


TRANSPORTATION

 
Regional solicitation set to allocate $200 million in federal funds

In July, applicants submitted 145 local projects to the Council for consideration for $200 million in federal transportation funding during the biannual Regional Solicitation process. The 145 projects totaled $540 million and sought to leverage an additional $410 million from local sources. This past summer, the Council allocated an additional $32.7 million due to several factors including the recent passage of the FAST Act, which provided increased federal funds to Minnesota.

This summer and fall, the Transportation Advisory Board’s (TAB) Technical Advisory Committee evaluated each of the 145 projects submitted and will make final recommendations to the full TAB in January 2017. Projects selected in January will include highway, bridge, transit, bikeway, pedestrian, and Safe Routes to School projects in the metro area, the bulk of which are submitted by local governments. 
 

Continuous Improvement leads to 'System of Year' honors
Improved bus service builds urban ridership
Bus Rapid Transit projects advance
Southwest LRT ready for construction in 2017
METRO Blue Line Extension on track
Special events lead to record ridership
Metro Transit co-creates better bus stops
System becomes safer, more secure
Preventative maintenance boost fleet performance


WASTEWATER TREATMENT, WATER QUALITY and WATER SUPPLY

 
Council protects public health and environment

The Council’s Environmental Services division (MCES) treats approximately 250 million gallons of wastewater from more than two million residents daily. This cleaned water is discharged to our rivers. Six wastewater treatment plants received national awards in 2016 for five years or more of perfect discharge permit compliance through 2015: Hastings (25 years); St. Croix Valley (24 years); Seneca (15 years); Blue Lake (10 years); Eagles Point (10 years); and Empire (8 years). These compliance records are among the highest in the nation.
 

Sustainability efforts include energy conservation, solar development
Systematic rehabilitation program protects wastewater assets
MCES receives national recognition for vision and operations
SAC Task Force looks at outdoor seating, other issues
Managing stormwater, sharing water data, and increasing efficiency
Council assists industries to meet permit requirements, save money
Council collaborates with local governments to address water issues

PAST ACCOMPLISHMENTS

 

2016 Metropolitan Council Accomplishments 106 kB

2015 Metropolitan Council Accomplishments 178 kB

2014 Metropolitan Council Accomplishments 169 kB

2013 Metropolitan Council Accomplishments 143 kB

2012 Metropolitan Council Accomplishments 358 kB