Walz/Met Council legislative agenda pushes regional investment and public safety

Date: Friday, January 17, 2020

Route 21 bus at a transit center.Investments in transit, parks, and wastewater treatment infrastructure continue to be high priorities for Governor Tim Walz as he rolls out his agenda for the 2020 legislative session. While the legislature is meeting in a so-called short session that does not include major policy bills, lawmakers are expected to pass a bonding bill to fund state construction projects across Minnesota.

The Governor’s bonding proposal will include:

  • Transit: $55 million for the METRO D Line, bus rapid transit that will connect Brooklyn Center to the Mall of America; and the METRO B Line, bus rapid transit that will connect Saint Paul and Minneapolis via Lake Street and Marshall Avenue.

  • Parks: $10 million to improve and expand the metropolitan regional parks and trails system.

  • Water quality: $5 million for the Met Council’s Environmental Services division to work with local governments on replacing and repairing aging sewer lines.

Gov. Walz also supports a public safety effort on the region’s transit system. Legislation is proposed to make fare evasion an administrative offense — much like a parking ticket — instead of a criminal offense. This would make it possible for the Metro Transit Police Department to use public safety personnel, instead of sworn Metro Transit police officers, to enforce fares on buses and trains. Police officers would be freed up for crime prevention and intervention.

The 2020 session of the Minnesota Legislature starts on February 11 and concludes on May 18.

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