Governor Walz proposes $1.5 billion transit package

Date: Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Budget for One Minnesota.

Proposal includes most significant investment in region’s bus system in a generation

Gov. Tim Walz today proposed a $1.5 billion transit package (PDF) that would create a comprehensive investment strategy to support the region’s bus system for generations to come.

The package includes addressing the structural budget issues created by the growth in demand for Metro Mobility, the region’s mandated public transit service for people with disabilities.

Separating the Metro Mobility and regular transit budgets

Historically, Metro Mobility and regular route bus transit services have been funded out of the same budget. As demand has grown, Metro Mobility has consumed a larger portion of that budget, creating a transit deficit to preserve the existing bus system. These budget constraints have limited the region’s ability to invest in and improve bus service.

This proposal would move Metro Mobility to its own, separate budget that prioritizes service for people with disabilities.

Map of routes in the 10-year Bus Rapid Transit vision.

Investing heavily in bus rapid transit, regular routes

In addition, the governor’s transit funding proposal creates investment to open one bus rapid transit (BRT) line each year for the next decade and allow for regular route transit to grow between 3% and 5%, a potential 40% growth in regional ridership. This investment will connect people to another 500,000 jobs, which will build community prosperity, a key goal of Thrive MSP 2040.

Specifics of the 10-year package include:

  • Shifting Metro Mobility away from the existing transit budget to its own budget ($380 million).

  • A 1/8-cent sales tax in the seven-county metropolitan area to maintain and expand the regional bus and transitway system, raising $770 million over 10 years.

  • An increase in the Motor Vehicle Sales Tax (MVST), which helps fund transit in the metro area, of .35% (from 6.5% to 6.875%), raising $205 million over 10 years.

  • Anticipated state bonding of $230 million to support capital investments.

  • These investments leverage continued financial support of $700 million being contributed by metro-area county sales taxes that replace previous state obligations.

A bus driver helps a woman in a wheelchair next to a bus.

Beyond the specific investments, the package brings the following benefits with it:

  • 220 new electric buses to accelerate Metro Transit’s efforts to fully electrify the bus fleet.

  • More reliable, frequent service, connecting more places throughout the region.

  • Improved customer experience with more shelters, with better amenities, including real-time information, bus stop signs, heat and light.

  • Additional resources for transit maintenance and security.

  • Enhancing accessibility, including ADA sidewalk pads and snow removal.

Our Vision for Transit

Budget for One Minnesota

Posted In: About Council, Transportation

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