ST. PAUL, MN— Today, the House Transportation Finance and Policy Committee discussed three bills to fund the next three Metro Transit Bus Rapid Transit Lines H, G, and F.
“I am pleased we had strong bipartisan support for arterial bus rapid transit in last year’s transportation budget agreement,” said Rep. Frank Hornstein, chair of the House Transportation Committee. “BRT is an effective, reliable, climate friendly, and economical form of public transit, and I look forward to continuing the conversation around the need for more investment in these BRT lines in particular.”
Last year, the Met Council conducted evaluations and outreach to determine which arterial BRT lines would be developed in the short term to determine which routes would become the F, G, and H Lines. In the end, they determined the Central Ave. corridor to be the best option for the next line developed (F Line) because it ranked in the highest category on all three major items of consideration: high ridership (current and projected growth), lower capital costs than most other options, and lower projected annual operating costs. The Met Council also identified the Rice/Robert route between Little Canada and West St. Paul as the G Line and the Como/Maryland route between Minneapolis and St. Paul as the H Line.
The House Transportation Committee discussed legislation authored by Rep. Sydney Jordan (DFL-Minneapolis), which would provide $80 million for the H-Line BRT corridor construction between downtown Minneapolis and the Sun Ray Transit Center in St. Paul via Como Avenue and Maryland Avenue. This would provide upgraded service to what is now local bus route 3, which provided 5,700 daily rides in 2019. 45% of riders on the route are people of color or live in low-income households. This transitway provides connections to nearly every other line in the METRO network. Currently corridor planning is scheduled to start in 2023 with construction planned for 2027-28 pending full funding.
Another bill lawmakers considered was HF 3623, authored by Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL-South Saint Paul) to provide $80 million for the G Line BRT project construction. The line would provide upgraded service to what is currently local bus routes 62 and 68 through Little Canada, Roseville, St. Paul, and West St. Paul along Rice and Robert Streets. Those routes provided 3,800 daily rides in 2019 with 43% of riders being people of color or from low-income households. Corridor planning is scheduled to begin later this year with construction expected 2026-27 pending full funding.
Lastly, the committee considered HF 2997, a bill authored by Rep. Connie Bernardy (DFL- New Brighton), to invest $40 million in the F Line BRT to construct the project. The F Line will operate along the corridor currently served by Route 10 regular bus service. This runs between the Northtown Mall on the border of Spring Lake Park and Blaine down through Fridley, Columbia Heights, and Northeast Minneapolis into downtown Minneapolis along University and Central Avenues. Currently Route 10 is one of the top 5 busiest local bus routes providing more than 7,000 rides per day in 2019. 46% of the route’s riders are people of color or from low-income households.
All bills are being considered for inclusion to a larger, future Transportation bill. Materials from the meeting can be accessed on the committee’s webpage.