TRANSIT: Metropolitan Council unveils large-scale transit expansion plan for Twin Cities

Advocates say more bus, rail options needed to accommodate growth

March 20, 2013

The Metropolitan Council presented a map of its vision for the expansion of public transit in the Twin Cities last week, which includes several new light rail and bus rapid transit lines. The council’s intent behind the expansion is to create a more integrated, multimodal transportation system in the Twin Cities.

Under the Council’s proposal, at least three new light rail lines and five highway bus rapid transit lines with dedicated lanes would be up and running by 2030. The new plan would also add at least a dozen other rapid intercity bus and streetcar lines as well as another commuter rail line.

The current push for more transit options stems from analysis that suggests the Twin Cities will add 1 million new residents by 2040.

The entire projected cost of the expansion is $4.5 billion. Funding sources and methods are still under discussion, including a bill that would collect $300 million annually for transit, bike and pedestrian improvement in the Twin Cities, plus another $32 million for outstate Minnesota.

A funding proposal for a similar transit expansion, put forward by Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, would raise $250 million annually via a quarter-cent raise in the seven-county transit-dedicated sales tax.