Time to invest in transit, for real

Mobility is the key to the opportunity for our Twin Cities region to grow and prosper, so I was pleased to see the Walz administration propose a bold vision for transit, including much-needed investment.

As the region continues to grow and change, weíll need a robust transit system to attract and maintain our younger workers, offer independence to our aging population and ensure everyday residents can get where they want and need to go.

Successful regions invest in transit. The A Line, providing bus rapid transit (BRT) along Snelling Avenue in St. Paul has been so successful, I’m glad to see the proposed addition of 10 new BRT lines, including suburban locations, signaling a commitment to increased service and transit ridership. The introduction of more electric buses is a welcomed step toward energy efficiency.

For too long, we’ve relied on short-term fixes to avoid the looming fiscal cliff, which is a $250 million deficit projected over the next decade. The current level and means of funding wonít allow the region to maintain, let alone expand, service in a way that meets our growing need for mobility and transportation options.

Over the next weeks at the Legislature, we’ll discuss the funding package the governor has proposed to address these needs, including modest increases in seven-county sales tax and motor vehicle sales tax, bonding and continued financial support from the county transit sales tax.

In addition, the governor’s proposal would give Metro Mobility its own funding allocation. Thatís significant because it would provide financial support to this critical, mandated transportation service for people wit disabilities without making it compete for funding with other transit services.

Today, the metro area is home to more than 3 million people. By 2040, we expect to grow to more than 3.7 million.

Gov. Walz is proposing significant change and investments that are long overdue and reflect the changes we’re experiencing within our region and society.

I applaud the administration’s initiative and commitment to mobility and encourage other residents to support the governor on this important issue and urge their legislators to do the same.

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