Metro Council Plans for Our Region
Do you ever wonder who operates the region’s bus system? What about the collection and treatment of wastewater? Why we have the best regional parks and trails in America? Thanks to the Metropolitan Council, which was created by the Minnesota Legislature in 1967, many citizens and representatives from area local governments work together to develop more efficient long range plans.
The Metropolitan Council (www.metrocouncil.org) serves as the planning agency for the Twin Cities seven-county metropolitan area. The chair and members are appointed by the governor and are subject to approval by the Minnesota Senate. The Council has a chair plus 16 members representing various districts of the region’s 2.85 million people. The four primary goals of the Council:
• Accommodate growth within the metropolitan area by working collaboratively with our partners.
• Maximize the effectiveness and value of regional services, infrastructure investments and incentives.
• Enhance transportation choices and improve the ability of Minnesotans to travel safely and efficiently throughout the region.
• Preserve vital natural areas and resources for future generations.
To accomplish these goals, some key activities include:
• Provide a framework plan for decisions and implementation for regional systems including aviation, transportation, parks and open space, water quality and water management.
• Operate the region’s largest bus system.
• Collect and treat wastewater.
• Provide planning, acquisitions and funding for a regional system of parks and trails.
• Provide affordable housing opportunities for low and moderate-income individuals and families.
• Engage communities and the public in planning for future growth.
• Provide forecasts of the region’s population and household growth
As metro residents, it is important to have knowledge of the Council’s work and to express our feelings on the job being done. The Council’s website offers excellent resources and reports, newsletters, videos and narrated slide shows with information on regional issues and services. Visit www.metrocouncil.org/about/public.htm to find all the information you need to stay on top of what’s happening, particularly any local plans.
The Council has many citizen advisory committees to assist in developing various policy recommendations. Check out the Council’s website to learn more about activities, actions and opportunities for involvement and serving.
To subscribe to their newsletter, visit http://www.metrocouncil.org/directions/subscribe.htm. You can also follow their work on Twitter (@MetCouncilNews).
Legislative review of the Metro Council is provided by the Legislative Commission on Metropolitan Government. The Commission was established to oversee the Council’s operating and capital budgets, work program and capital improvement program. I am currently serving on the Commission. Additionally, the Minnesota Legislative Auditor provides review of programs as directed. Check the Auditor’s website, http://www.auditor.leg.state.mn.us/, for more information.
As always, please contact me with questions or suggestions regarding the Metropolitan Council or anything else. Please visit my Senate website at senate.mn/senatorwiger. I also encourage you to visit me at the Capitol, or let me know if you’d like me to stop by your home or apartment. Also, please tune in to my local cable TV show, “Your Capitol: What’s Up?,” which appears on public access channels 15 and 16.