OPINION: Election Changes Minnesota’s Transit Dialogue

‘Major opponents of transit lost their 2012 re-election bids, particularly in the areas representing the Southwest Light Rail Transit Corridor.’


Editor’s Note: The Counties Transit Improvement Board, a five-county agency that invests in transit using a quarter-cent sales tax and $20 a motor vehicle sales tax, published this article Thursday.


The election results make it clear the dialogue about transit in the State of Minnesota has changed.

“Voters throughout the State of Minnesota expressed the desire to shift the state’s focus to fundamental questions about how we can best invest in our communities to achieve a prosperous and thriving future,” said Counties Transit Improvement Board Chair Peter McLaughlin. “Transit is part of the solution that will make our region competitive.”

Major opponents of transit lost their 2012 re-election bids, particularly in the areas representing the Southwest Light Rail Transit (LRT) Corridor. With new leadership in the Minnesota House and Senate, the opportunity to secure funding during the 2013 legislative session is more likely than ever before.

Other corridors benefiting from a pro-transit legislature include the Bottineau Transitway from the northwest suburbs that ultimately connects with the Interchange transportation hub in downtown Minneapolis, and the Gateway Corridor connecting the east metro suburbs to Union Depot Station in downtown St. Paul.

While there were no specific transit measures involved in Minnesota’s 2012 election, throughout the rest of the country transit leaders and projects in states like North Carolina, Indiana and Hawaii won voter approval.

David Arvidson November 11, 2012 at 03:39 AM
Currently, talented young people are flocking to Texas in droves especially in the Houston and Austin area including 2 of my daughters due to the fact that they have no income tax. Portland and Denver is as well seeing a significant influx of youth because of it's natural beauty. Downtown Minneapolis will soon have a brand new 36 floor apartment building to entice these young people. These young people are the very people we need for innovation and skill positions not soon, but right now. If we do not make Minnesota attractive to those people we will get the "Also Ran's". The youth movement that will hopefully occur in Downtown Minneapolis will not use the Light Rail, they will have everything they want within walking distance. The last time Bus Drivers went on strike, Walgreen's in DT MPLS saw a 91% decrease in shop lifting. Food for thought, who are we subsidizing this Billion $ train wreck for?
Daryl Fryxell November 13, 2012 at 07:08 PM
This cadre of unelected bureaucrats can claim that wasteful spending on LRT got a boost from the election. But their claim does not make it so. We have a metro bus system where the taxpayers already subsidize transportation for others. What we need to do is abolish the Met Council, abolish this Counties Transit Improvement Board, and put the savings in the general fund. End of story.


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