Every month, a group of elected representatives called the Counties Transit Improvement Board has met to contemplate — and fund — mass transit in the metro area. Up until recently, it operated with little fuss.
Known as CTIB, the board has contributed more than $750 million to help pay for transit projects such as the Green Line LRT, which links the downtowns of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Two more light-rail lines connecting Minneapolis to the suburbs are in the pipeline, as well as several bus rapid transit projects.
But the eight-year-old board, funded largely by a transit sales tax levied in Anoka, Hennepin, Ramsey, Washington and Dakota counties, is fractured by possible defections and criticism that call into question the metro area’s blueprint for transit — and how it should be funded.
With little notice last month, Dakota County voted to pull out of the group, leaving some CTIB members feeling stung and befuddled. And there’s talk among some state lawmakers that the board should be dissolved and its cash reserves used to shore up the controversial Southwest light-rail project.