The transportation proposal passed by the Minnesota House threatens to disrupt the lives of thousands of Minnesotans who depend on transit every day. The House omnibus transportation bill contains gratuitous and counterproductive cuts to Metro Transit that will multiply the transit system’s budget deficit from $74 million to $140 million over the next two years.
At a time when the state has a $1.6 billion budget surplus, legislators are considering cuts that will force a 40 percent reduction in basic bus service. I object to this proposal because it will hurt families and businesses, and supporters have offered no rationale for making these deep cuts.
The bill specifically targets people for whom transit is a daily necessity. There are many people in our region who are transit-dependent, for whom taking a car to work, school or for errands is not an option. Half of local bus riders in Minneapolis and St. Paul don’t have a driver’s license while 58 percent don’t have access to a car. In addition to steep service reductions, the House bill would require fare increases well above the increases already under consideration, effectively blocking some transit dependent riders from accessing opportunities for work, school and training in our region.