Transit at the Capitol

Posted In: Transportation
Date: 4/10/2017


State lawmakers are debating a number of bills this session that would have big implications for metro area public transit. Both the House and Senate have passed initial bills that would lead to service cuts; the proposed budget cuts by the House would lead to service cuts of 40%, impacting all 151 bus routes through service reductions or elimination.


Metro Mobility service faces likely cuts, fare increases.

Transit advocates gathered at the Capitol in late March to speak out against the proposed budget cuts.
 

Impact of House proposed cuts on transit service 

What’s next

Five members from each body will serve as conferees to work out the differences between the Senate and House bills before new votes.
 
HF 861 Transit Link ImpactsThe House conferees are:

  • Paul Torkelson (R- Hanska), House Transportation Finance Committee Chairman  

  • John Petersberg (R-Waseca), House Transportation Finance Committee Vice-Chair

  • Linda Runbeck (R-Lino Lakes), House Transportation Policy and Regional Governance Policy Committee Chair

  • Jon Koznick (R-Lakeville), House Transportation Policy and Regional Governance Policy Committee Vice-Chair

  • John Howe (R-Rockville), House Transportation Finance Committee Member

The Senate conferees are:

  • Scott Newman (R-Hutchinson), Senate Transportation Finance and Policy Committee Chair

  • John Jasinski (R-Faribault), Senate Transportation Finance and Policy Committee Vice-Chair

  • Mary Kiffmeyer (R-Big Lake), Senate Transportation Finance and Policy Committee Member

  • David Osmek (R-Mound), Senate Transportation Finance and Policy Committee Member

  • Dan Sparks (D-Austin), Senate Member

In the News

Brief overview of transit provisions in House Transportation Omnibus Bill (HF 861)

  • HF 861 balloons existing transit deficit from $74 million to $140 million.

  • Even after a fare increase, the Metro Area transit deficit is expected to be more than $120 million, forcing 40% in cuts.

  • All bus routes operated by Metro Transit (express and local) affected - either reduced or eliminated. See Bus Service Impacts map (pdf).

    • 20-70 of 151 routes could be eliminated

    • Thousands of scheduled bus trips could be eliminated

  • Red Line Bus Rapid Transit service reduced

  • Northstar weekend service eliminated

  • Projected 20-25% ridership loss system-wide (50,000 to 70,000 daily rides lost)

  • Transit Link service eliminated entirely.  See Transit Link Service Impacts map (pdf).

  • Metro Mobility is currently facing a $25 million shortfall. This bill does not add resources to Metro Mobility; it simply shifts the shortfall to bus.

  • House File 4, the omnibus tax bill, funds light rail operations by shifting the state’s 50% share of light rail operations to Hennepin and Ramsey Counties. This use of local taxes to meet state obligations means funding statewide road and tax-break initiatives would be at the expense of locally planned and funded transit projects. 

  • HF 861 shifts Motor Vehicle Sales Tax (MVST) funds from Metro Transit to Suburban Transit providers, so Metro Transit bus service takes the entire hit.

  • Because of this MVST shift, services in select West and Southwest metro communities are able to expand services at the cost of additional service reductions in all other suburban and urban communities. See Bus Service Impacts map (pdf).

  • HF 861 prohibits the Council from using any funds for the Southwest LRT (SWLRT), leaving a more than $90 million hole in the local funding share of SWLRT. The project cannot apply for federal funding without this local share.

  • The bill also limits future light rail expansion, by prohibiting cities, counties, regional rail authorities, and the Metropolitan Council from spending funds on studying, designing, or constructing light rail projects without explicit legislative authorization.

Brief overview of transit provisions in Senate Transportation Omnibus Bill (SF 1060)

  • Even after a fare increase, SF 1060 would leave Metro Area transit deficit at $65 million.

  • Deficits require 17% cuts in service hours and significant fare increases.

  • Ridership is expected to drop by approximately 17%.

  • Metro Mobility is currently facing a $25 million shortfall. This bill does not add resources to Metro Mobility; it simply shifts the shortfall to bus.

  • SF 1060 ends the state’s commitment to fund its 50% share of future light rail transit lines. This means the Council will need to find money to operate Southwest LRT and other planned lines elsewhere, which could jeopardize the projects.

More information

TRANSIT FACTS BROCHURE (PDF).
WHY IS TRANSIT IMPORTANT?

  • it moves more people on existing infrastructure

  • it improves our region's quality of life and convenience

  • it supports prosperity and opportunities

  • it helps us compete with other regions for talent and business investments

At rush hour bus move the equivalent of 1 1/2 lanes of traffic.
 

Posted In: Transportation

Tags: Transit, legislature, Funding, house of representatives, senate

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