Ten Twin Cities suburban mayors say more transit projects are needed in the metro area because they are key to prosperity.
Writing in the Star Tribune, the mayors — including those from Eden Prairie, Minnetonka and Bloomington — say that, because of added transit provisions, they support a more expensive transportation funding plan set forth by Gov. Mark Dayton and the DFL-controlled state Senate, over the state House Republican proposal.
“Effective transit operations in the metro area are critical to the state’s economic success. Transit moves our metro workforce; at present, nearly 40 percent of people who work in downtown Minneapolis or St. Paul depend on it to get to work. The number of people using transit is growing; between 2000 and 2010, transit trips increased by 25 percent as a percentage of all trips in the Twin Cities region, and use of park-and-ride facilities grew by more than 6 percent from 2012 to 2013 alone. This trend is expected to continue, and by 2040 we expect that our transit system will need to provide approximately 180 million rides per year to keep up with demand.”
The mayors say they like plans from Dayton and the Senate which would spend $6 billion over the next 10 years on roads, bridges and rapid-transit ways.
“In contrast, the House proposal addresses some of the need for investment in roads and bridges, but its funding ideas fall short of the levels needed for transit. Under this proposal, metro-area transit operations would be cut by 25 percent in the next five years, and new transit development would be nearly impossible, at the same time our population is growing.”
The letter was signed by these mayors:
- Jim Hovland of Edina
- Nora Slawik of Maplewood
- Nancy Tyra-Lukens of Eden Prairie
- Terry Schneider of Minnetonka
- Scott Lund of Fridley
- Sandy Martin of Shoreview
- Brad Tabke of Shakopee
- Debbie Goettel of Richfield
- Mike Maguire of Eagan
- Gene Winstead of Bloomington