Transit cuts would affect bus routes
If you rely on a bus to get to around, you may soon have to find other options.

A House transportation bill would cut state funding by $122 million for the next two years, which could mean reductions in Metro Transit service and increases in fares. The cuts would affect bus, light rail and Metro Mobility services.

"In a lot of ways it feels like they are throwing the people who take the bus and LRT to work, under the bus," said Adam Duininck, Metropolitan Council chair. 

Transit officials say the proposed budget cuts that fund transportation would be crippling to people who rely on the bus or light rail.

"The legislature needs to hear how essential transit is for people," Duininck said. "Forty percent of the workforce in Minneapolis or St. Paul arrive there by bus or train."

The House transportation bill would reduce bus service by 40 percent in the Twin Cities, and according to Metro Transit officials, would further clog up a freeway system that is already at capacity.

"When a bus is full they are carrying sometimes a lane and a half in one lane," Duininck said. "So we are making the best use of our roadway system."

Meanwhile, in cities like Maple Grove, potential transit cuts are not expected to impact suburban bus routes.

"Best we can tell right now there's no direct cuts to Maple Grove Transit or the other suburban transit programs," said Mike Opatz of Maple Grove Transit. "But we are monitoring it together as an association."

Most of the funding for Maple Grove Transit comes from a motor vehicle sales tax, which will not be eliminated. But officials say this is a fluid situation and if fares increase or funding is cut, the status quo could change.

"Even a fare increase does worry us because all the projections and models do show even a 25 percent increase in the fare does drop the ridership even more," Opatz said.

Eric Nelson, reporting



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