Governor Mark Dayton released his proposed budget today. While the primary headlines will feature proposed spending increases and income tax hikes, the budget also includes new sales tax revenue for what Governor Dayton calls “a transit system to support economic growth” in the Twin Cities and across the state. We applaud Governor Dayton for recognizing this important need.
According to the budget, the new funding
- addresses all funding shortfalls for current bus and rail commitments and
- expands the regional bus system by one percent annually with more routes, increased frequencies, and longer service hours.
Additionally, new funding will expand the Twin Cities’ transitway system over 20 years with the following:
- Southwest LRT to Eden Prairie
- Bottineau LRT to Brooklyn Park
- I-35 W South BRT from Minneapolis to Lakeville
- Gateway BRT or LRT from St. Paul to the east
- up to 12 potential Arterial BRT or streetcar corridors
- up to 5 potential Highway BRT corridors
The Governor’s budget narrative also includes the following maps of the proposed system:
Images: Metropolitan Council
Building out the Twin Cities transit system is our top legislative priority because it is essential for a growing and aging region and will help drive our economy in the future while reducing our dependence on costly oil.
While the budget includes a recommendation to increase the sales tax in the seven-county Twin Cities metro by a quarter of a cent while also significantly broadening the reach of the sales tax to include clothes and some services, the full details of the proposed new revenues are still unclear.
Overall, we are very excited and encouraged by this proposal, but also look forward to upcoming conversations around a couple details. We recognize the extra return on investment from building out the transit system within 10 years rather than 20, and also the value of supporting local walking and biking connections and transit in Greater Minnesota.
Photo: Metro Transit