How State Lawmakers Can Improve Mobility for All Minnesotans in 2023
We all benefit when it’s easy to walk, roll, bike, and bus. These essential ways of getting around are dramatically underfunded every year. Legislators must ensure communities of all sizes have enough resources to build out the solutions that fit their needs.
With statewide investment in public transit we can protect the service Minnesotans rely on today and create a better transit system that connects communities, stabilizes our climate, expands access to jobs and resources, and improves daily life for people of all ages, races, incomes, and abilities.
With statewide investment in accessible sidewalks and safe bike routes, Minnesota seniors and people with disabilities can keep more of their independence, and kids and families can navigate their towns and neighborhoods without fear of being hit by a car.
Transit investments supercharge other equity and climate-focused state spending — affordable housing without access to reliable transit or active transportation services can create new obstacles for families, and increased opportunities and spending for healthcare are meaningless if patients do not show up for appointments because they cannot travel to receive services.
Across the state, transportation has a major impact on whether or not Minnesotans can get to work and school, buy groceries, visit the doctor, and connect with friends and family. Inadequate transportation compounds the inequalities communities of color, low-wealth communities, and people with disabilities experience every day. And with transportation the top source of climate pollution, bold transportation change is critical to solving the climate crisis we’re all facing.
We know Minnesotans strongly support these investments! (Citations below)
- 3 in 4 Minnesotans support the State Legislature making additional investments to expand and improve public transit, including buses, trains, and light rail.
- 68% of Minnesotans want a transportation package that includes funding for safe bicycling and pedestrian routes.
- Among strategies to reduce climate pollution from transportation, Minnesotans show the strongest support for improving public transit, promoting electric buses and trains, and creating walkable and bikable communities.
Our Transportation Forward legislative agenda calls on lawmakers to take action to ensure that everyone can get around in sustainable, affordable, safe, and healthy ways.
Seize the opportunity for transit, walking and biking progress
People across the state continue to struggle to get around because urgent projects don’t have the resources they need to move forward. In 2023, lawmakers have a tremendous opportunity to make immediate, meaningful progress and leverage an unprecedented influx of federal relief dollars.
We urge lawmakers to seize the moment to create a Minnesota where all of us can get around and all of us can thrive by:
- Establish a 1% Metro Area Sales Tax and amend the Motor Vehicle Sales Tax (MVST) to a 50/50 highway/transit split.
- Statutorily define “Highway Purposes” as inclusive of transit, biking, and walking investments in highway rights of way.
- Establish a permanent Transit Ambassador program and decriminalize fare non-payment.
- Provide a 20% match for federal Transportation Management Organization funding.
Champion long-term funding to transform lives and secure our future
One-time money isn’t enough. Reliable, long-term, dedicated funding is urgently needed to create lasting change. Long-term sustainable investments in transit, bicycling, walking, and rolling would dramatically improve daily life for Minnesota families and secure a more equitable, climate-resilient future for all of us.
- Make public transit fast, frequent, and convenient throughout the Twin Cities.
- $690 million annually for 10 years would:
- Build 20 additional Twin Cities bus rapid transit lines
- Reduce wait time on core transit lines to just five minutes
- at rush hour
- Expand suburban express service hours to all day
- Expand highway bus rapid transit in our metro
- Create a supportive Transit Ambassadors program
- Eliminate transit fares
- Electrify the bus system
- Close existing and anticipated operating and
- maintenance gaps
- Improve bicycling and walking connections
- $690 million annually for 10 years would:
- Meet needs in Greater Minnesota by fully funding MnDOT bicycle plans, MnDOT-identified transit needs, and the Statewide Pedestrian System Plan.
Citations: 1) Statewide poll of 500 registered MN voters, conducted Aug 22-26, 2018, for the Minneapolis Regional Chamber by Public Opinion Strategies; 2) statewide poll of 502 registered MN voters, conducted Feb 1-5, 2017, for the Minnesota Environmental Partnership by Fairbank, Maslin, Maulin, Metz & Associates and Public Opinion Strategies; 3) Per Minnesota Department of Transportation, Pathways to Decarbonizing Transportation in Minnesota, Aug 2019, page 35.