Expanding Transit choices
Expanding transit choices means advocating at the legislature, at the Met Council, and with counties to make sure funding goes to bus and rail, both ongoing operating costs and capital investments, which often are part of bonding bills. TLC is also laying the ground work for a campaign to increase funding for transit statewide in order to build the 21st century transit system we need. We're also working to improve connections for bicyclists and pedestrians to public transit. We advocate for compact, mixed use development near transit stations and along transit corridors.
Metro Area Transitways
Transitways --light rail, commuter rail, and dedicated busways-- provide higher capacity and higher speed travel. Several regional transitways are moving forward --Central Corridor, Southwest, Bottineau, and more. Click to view the transitways map. TLC encourages legislators and the governor to support transit bonding to pay for the state's share of our 21st century transit system in a timely manner. Click to take action.
Metro Area Bus Systems
Buses are the foundation of a successful public transit system. While our bus system does a good job with commuter service, 75% of residents in the metro area do not have practical access to transit and the metro bus system has shrunk by 10% since 2000. The Met Council distributes funding for transit in the region to Metro Transit and a number of suburban providers including Southwest Metro Transit, Minnestoa Valley Transit, Maple Grove Transit, Plymouth Metrolink, and others. For more information, check out the 2009 Transit System Performance Evaluation.
Greater Minnesota Transit
In Greater Minnesota, transit service is very limited --which severely disadvantages low income, mobility-impaired and elderly residents of those communities. Some Minnesota counties have no transit service at all. Many counties have only weekday service in a few cities. In larger cities service may be limtited to peak periods, or weekdays, or daytime hours. Even in large regional centers like Rochester and Duluth, transit service is not the practical substitute for a car that residents would prefer. TLC is working to make sure that greater Minnesota isn't left off the grid when it comes to building a 21st century transportation system.
Intercity rail is an energy-efficient transportation option and helps to reduce vehicle and airline congestion. TLC supports the development of high speed rail, including the development of intercity connections from Minneapolis and St. Paul to other regional centers in Minnesota. St. Paul's Union Depot is the region's first high speed rail project. Union Depot will be the future home of Amtrak and high speed rail to Chicago. Someday it may also have connections to the Northstar Rail to St. Cloud. In 2005 Union Depot was awarded a $50 million federal transportation grant and in 2010 the Obama administration awarded the project a $35 million TIGER Grant.
Bicycle and Pedestrian Connections to Transit
Safe, accessible connections to transit are hugely important. Nearly 80% of riders on Metro Transit access their bus or train by walking and bicycling.
The Metropolitan Council's Transportation Advisory Board (TAB) overseees nearly $175 million in federal spending every other year in the Twin Cities metro area. TLC successfully advocated to have a percentage of the new five county sales tax for transitways be available for bicycle and pedestrian connections to transit. The board that allocates the sales tax revenue, the County Transit Improvement Board (CTIB) has yet to allocate any of its approximately $80 million annually to this purpose but advocates should continue to make the case. Meanwhile, TAB typically allocates $10 million in each funding round for bicycle and pedestrian projects, much of it for trail projects. The TAB has great flexiblity in what it can fund and more of the fudning could be spent on bicycle and pedestrian projects including complete streets and even public information.
TLC administers a $25 million federal non-motoried pilot program called Bike Walk Twin Cities (BWTC). BWTC aims to increase walking and bicycling in Minenapolis and surrounding communities. BWTC funded a study of ways to improve bicycle and pedestrian connections to Metro Transit . Funding from BWTC was also provided to the City of Minneapolis to develop a city-wide pedestrian master plan. The Bike Walk Twin Cities "Transit Maps and Connections" page has up-to-date information for bicyclists and pedestrians on ways to connect with transit and get where they need to go without ever getting in a car.