The Senate Transportation Committee heard numerous bills this week that would have impeded the ability to plan, operate, and maintain Minnesota’s network of transit lines, which is a vital economic tool to help residents get to their destinations, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and decrease congestion on our roads.
The proposals would have discontinued funding for the Northstar Passenger Rail, which recently received significant federal funding through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). Additional proposals to suspend light rail services would jeopardize Minnesota’s ability to receive competitive transit grants that will soon be available through the IIJA.
Yet another bill would have required counties to pay for all future costs to design, build, and operate light rail or bus rapid transit lines without any financial support from the state. This would remove any incentive to plan for new transit lines, increase costs for counties, and potentially increase property taxes to pay for existing transit services. (SF 3494, 3992, 3990)