Yesterday, the Counties’ Transit Improvement Board (C-TIB) passed resolutions to fund capital and operating projects for transit projects, totaling $86 million for 2009. The C-TIB makes decisions about how to spend the money generated by the new ¼ cent regional sales tax, which was authorized in the transportation bill passed last year.
Funded projects will include:
- Construction of a park and ride in Apple Valley as part of the Cedar Avenue bus rapid transit (BRT) project and the 35W Urban Partnership Agreement: $7 million
- Preliminary engineering and final design work for the Central Corridor light rail transit line: $26 million
- Construction of the Fridley Station on Northstar commuter rail line. With this funding, the station should be ready to open in November 2009 when the line opens: $9.9 million.
- To make up an expected deficit, funding for metro area bus operations in 2009 ($ goes to the Metropolitan Council): $30.7 million
- Support to operate the Hiawatha light rail transit line and the Northstar commuter rail: $11.3 million
- Transit projects (to be determined) in Washington County: $0.9 million
- Express bus service in transitway corridors: $.08 million
TOTAL FOR 2009
Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin, Chair of C-TIB, called the project approvals “historic.” Commissioner McLaughlin, Transit for Livable Communities, and other advocates for better transit in Minnesota worked to secure this funding for more than a decade. To learn more about Transit for Livable Communities work to secure this funding source, check out this video honoring the Transit Partners coalition (in which TLC played a key role).
This new regional sales tax will not solve the bus funding shortfall which has come about because of a precipitous decline in the sales tax on new and used vehicles – the major funding source for bus service. TLC will be working hard during the 2009 session to work with legislators to fill an expected $45 million hole in the budget for bus service.