Gov. Walz Proclaims Feb 4 Transit Equity Day in Minnesota
In celebration and remembrance of the life and accomplishments of Rosa Parks, and recognizing how pivotal transit is to advancing equity across the state, Governor Tim Walz has formally proclaimed Friday, February 4, “Transit Equity Day” in Minnesota!
Move Minnesota’s executive director, Sam Rockwell, was enthusiastic about the announcement, saying, “We applaud the Governor’s Transit Equity Day proclamation. Transit is essential for an equitable and inclusive Minnesota where people of every race, ability, income, gender, and zip code can thrive. We encourage all state and local leaders to make improving and expanding public transit a priority in the year ahead.”
The proclamation comes during the first week of new legislative session with big needs and opportunities for investments in transit statewide—including new bus rapid transit lines in the metro, passenger rail service connecting the Twin Cities and Duluth, and bus facilities in Greater Minnesota. State leaders will also have a clear opportunity to leverage an unprecedented influx of federal dollars in ways that improve transit service, improve daily lives, and secure a more equitable future for all Minnesota families.
Why It Matters
While transit ridership has dipped during the pandemic, it continues to be a lifeline for many. In communities large and small, public transit connects Minnesotans to jobs, food, housing, health care, and education.
In the Twin Cities:
- 45 percent of transit riders are Black, indigenous, or people of color (Metro Transit, 2020)
- 47 percent of transit riders don’t have access to a vehicle (Metro Transit, 2019)
- 40 percent of transit riders are essential workers (Move Minnesota and TransitCenter, 2020)
- Only 4.9 percent of Twin Cities residents can access a job in 30 minutes by transit (GreaterMSP, 2021)
A National Day of Action
Minnesota isn’t alone in recognizing Transit Equity Day. Transit Equity Day is celebrated across the country as a day of action declaring public transit a civil right. This event is held on February 4 each year, commemorating the birthday of civil rights icon Rosa Parks.
The Governor’s Proclamation
The 2022 Transit Equity Day proclamation reads as follows:
WHEREAS: Transit systems throughout Minnesota have provided hundreds of thousands of daily rides to essential workers and others who depend on their services throughout the
COVID-19 pandemic; and
WHEREAS : Minnesotans are grateful for the service of our transit workers, who have bravely and tirelessly operated and maintained our transit system to keep it functioning under
extraordinary circumstances; and
WHEREAS : Minnesota buses and trains not only connect our communities but move us towards a more inclusive Minnesota that affirms shared opportunity for people of every race,
ability, age, income, gender, and zip code; and
WHEREAS : Transit advances equity by enhancing mobility and providing access to jobs, health care, education, social services, and all the needs of daily life in Minnesota; and
WHEREAS : February 4 marks the birthday of Rosa Parks, a civil rights pioneer whose refusal to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama eventually led to the desegregation of
transit systems across America; and
WHEREAS : Transit access is critical to addressing long-standing inequities and ensuring needs in communities of color are fully and fairly met,
WHEREAS : While the State of Minnesota has made great strides in transit equity, we are committed to the continued improvement of transit accessibility and equity.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, TIM WALZ, Governor of Minnesota, do hereby proclaim Friday, February
4, 2022, as: TRANSIT EQUITY DAY