Cuts transit services for seniors, increases fees, and eliminates jobs
Saint Paul, Minnesota – The Minnesota House Republicans passed a transportation bill this evening that cuts transit services for seniors and the disabled and would likely trigger increased fees for transit users and job cuts. State Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL – Minneapolis), DFL lead on House Transportation Policy and Finance, said the bill includes no reforms and is a clear step backwards for Minnesota’s transportation system.
“Seniors and people with disabilities who depend on affordable transit services are the people who will be hurt most," said Hornstein. “It’s a u-turn back toward an underfunded transportation system that does not meet the needs of Minnesotans.”
Transit is slashed significantly in the bill for both Greater Minnesota and the metro area. In Greater Minnesota, the $7.8 million cut would have a significant impact on access to things like dial-a-ride programs that serve Minnesota seniors. Hornstein said only 60% of seniors in Greater Minnesota are currently being served and the deep cut will reduce that rate to under 50%.
“We are making bad situation worse,” said Hornstein.
Metro transit is cut over $100 million in the bill leaving a $50 million hole in the Metropolitan Council budget. According to Metropolitan Council Commissioner Susan Haigh, a cut of this level would force fair increases or service cuts and more than 500 lost jobs.
“Less jobs and higher fees are not the path toward a stronger economy or a more robust transportation system,” said Hornstein. “Instead, we should focus on giving Minnesotans what they want – more transit options in a 21st century transportation system.”