As Minnesotans grapple with the unprecedented economic circumstances surrounding COVID-19, it is imperative that policymakers pursue the most impactful and strategic measures to drive job growth and retention across our state.
A new report released by six organizations – including East Metro Strong, the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, Move Minnesota, Sierra Club North Star Chapter, ISAIAH, and Fresh Energy – found that leveraging state bonding dollars for transit and electric vehicle infrastructure is among the most effective strategies available to drive job creation.
Among the highlights found in the report:
- Building transit infrastructure requires a wide variety of jobs, from the heaviest construction to the finest electrical work.
- More than 60 employers around Minnesota manufacture transit equipment, from the smaller transit vehicles used by agencies throughout Greater Minnesota, to the buses used by agencies in the Twin Cities metro area.
- Minnesota’s last major light rail project – the Green Line – employed workers from more than 55 Minnesota counties.
- Bonding proposals such as electric vehicle infrastructure and the Safe Routes to School program meaningfully supplement transit investments while generating additional job growth.
Moreover, the COVID-19 crisis has made it more apparent than ever just how critical our transit systems are for ensuring that essential workers get to and from work. More than 40,000 Minnesotans are using transit daily even during Minnesota’s stay at home order; with non-essential workers currently staying at home, current transit users are nearly all classified as essential workers.
The report concludes by recommending that the Minnesota Legislature pass a meaningful transportation and jobs package to put Minnesotans back to work and our state on a path to long-term prosperity:
Transportation and Jobs Package
Bus Rapid Transit $75M
Intercity Rail $40M
Safe Routes to School (SRTS) $10M
EV Infrastructure $14M
Greater MN Transit $10M
TOTAL: $149M for Transportation and Jobs