Transit Funding 101 Educational Workshops

From Owen Duckworth, Community Organizer

As organizers at Transit for Livable Communities, Michelle and I are always working to find new ways for members to play an active role in our work to improve transit, biking, and walking in Minnesota. One of our goals this upcoming year is to include members at a high level in our campaign to protect and win additional revenue for transit at the state capitol. In conversations with members about our campaign plans, as well as at member team meetings, many members expressed great enthusiasm for participating in such a campaign, but also expressed that it would be difficult to take on a more active role without learning how we currently fund our system. This made us realize that if we want to get our members, and ultimately the public in general involved in such a campaign, the first step is education about how transit funding works in the Twin Cities metro.

At a member team meeting in October, we outlined some of the activities that a transit funding campaign would entail. We then asked, what would you need to know about transit funding in order to participate in this campaign? Members responded with a list of different information that would be relevant to a campaign: the basic sources of revenue for transit, what they pay for, how our funding system compares to other regions, the need for transit funding “myth-buster” facts, and more. The group agreed to put together a “Transit Funding 101” workshop before the 2011 legislative session to help educate themselves and the general public about transit funding in Minnesota.

We set two dates for the workshops in December, Wednesday the 8th at TLC’s office and Thursday the 9th in Minneapolis at the Sierra Club North Star Chapter office. With workshops in both cities, they are accessible to people on both sides of the metro. After a follow-up meeting in November, members are now in the process of developing a Powerpoint presentation for the workshop, crafting the agenda, and developing materials and handouts for people attending. Ultimately, we want to be able to use the presentation and materials we’re creating to talk to people all over the metro and we hope to have both staff and members take share this information with people who want to learn more.

Given our current political and economic climate, we’ll likely be working to defend our transit system in 2011. By giving people the tools and the knowledge to participate in a conversation about transit funding, we’re building a movement to improve our transit and transportation system in the long-term.

If you’re interested in attending or learning more about our Transit Funding 101 educational workshops please contact Owen at owend@tlcminnesota.org or Michelle at michelled@tlcminnesota.org or (651) 767-0298. You can also register on TLC’s website for the December 8th and December 9th events.