Legislators say deep cuts to transit are the wrong choice for Minnesota families
Saint Paul, MINN. – Today, DFL lawmakers protested Republican efforts to cut transit and halt Southwest Light Rail.
DFL lawmakers and community leaders called out the inadequate funding in the Republican plan, and expressed how it will harm Minnesotans who rely on transit for school, work, and daily life.
"The transit cuts in the Republican bill will seriously affect our ability to move forward as a region," said Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL – Minneapolis). "People can't get to their jobs, doctor appointments, school and other every day activities. We need a transportation bill that works for everyone."
The Republican plan would harm transit in the following ways:
A Star Tribune poll released today reported that 76% of residents in Hennepin and Ramsey county support the use of taxpayer dollars to fund light rail construction for South West and Bottineau lines. Despite this report, and recent Federal funding making the project easier to complete, Republicans are still trying to halt construction.
“Instead of working together to use our surplus wisely and lift up the economy of our entire state, Republicans are making it clear that they want to punish the economies of our major cities and Minnesota as a whole,” said Rep. Cheryl Youakim (DFL – Hopkins). “Halting Southwest Light Rail is a continued political game that is costing Minnesotans time and money.”
Rep. Ilhan Omar (DFL – Minneapolis) spoke to the harm bus service cuts would impose on students and seniors in her district around the University of Minnesota campus.
“Thousands of residents of my community depend on transit every day. These are people who create economic investment and opportunity here in Minnesota. They come from all backgrounds and all walks of life,” said Rep. Omar. “These Minnesotans don’t depend on transit for entertainment or fun, they depend on transit to get to school, to get to work, and to live their daily lives.”
State Rep. Rena Moran (DFL - St. Paul) asked Republican lawmakers to get serious about funding transit to match their commitment to reducing racial economic disparities in Minnesota.
“If we want all Minnesotans to be economically successful, we can’t take away the services they rely on to get to work and school every day,” said Rep. Moran. “Transit is part of what makes a community vibrant and successful.”
Rep. Lyndon Carlson (DFL – Crystal) also noted that light rail and bus service are broadly supported in his northwest metro district.
“The DFL position is fairness and equity for transit funding in every community. My neighbors know that the Bottineau LRT line and good bus service will enhance our communities and make us stronger,” said Rep. Carlson. “As we expect our population to increase in the next 25 years, we know that new residents want good transit, and that building our highways out to handle 800,000 new cars would be impossible.”
With a $1.65 billion budget surplus, cutting transit is the wrong choice.