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Sunday, April 30, 2017

House & Senate Differ on Future of Met Council in Mass Transit. Billions at Stake.


Update: It appears the House and Senate agree'd to give the MetC an insane budget of $210 million! That's nearly Three and a half times higher than the house proposal of $61.5 million!
see post:
GOP Caves on Mass Transit, Offers Dayton Dream Budget for the Met Council to Continue Transit Lines















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Today, 5-1-2017, it's up to the ten legislators from the House and Senate on whether they are going to, for the first time in over ten years, slow the out of control expansion of white elephant mass transit. Yes, the 3 corridors in Washington County have not had direct state funding since 2011; however, the bloated budget of the Met Council has back door funded these corridors' progress along with the 11 other corridors that are either in planning or recently built.  (4 of 14 completed so far)
(according to "Session Daily" today is the deadline)

We covered why the legislators should accept the house version in our previous post:
GOP Senate Passes $5.8 Billion Transportation Bill with $180 Million to Met Council & Mass Transit a Huge Raise

This article is more evidence against the unelected Met Council who is now threatening to retaliate with the most painful cuts possible if they get a budget decrease. 

Today is the last day to urge the ten legislators to accept the House version of the omnibus bill, $61.5 million for Met Council as opposed to the Senate's insane offer of $180 million for their transportation budget. The Met C operating budget was less than $650 million in 2006. Last year it was just short of $1 BILLION DOLLARS! Most of their services are redundant to local city and county planning. Including but not limited to park planning, low income housing planning, water and sewer planning, "livable communities", and "growth planning."  According to Representative Nick Zerwas, the original intent of the Met C was simply to help neighboring metro cities plan utilities like water and sewer at their borders. 

In 2005 the State provided $57.3 million in funding for traditional bus service, metro mobility, express bus, and the one light rail train in operation. Subtract the $9.35 million the state provided to fund this transit line's horrible lack of self sustaining ridership (the blue line) and it shows all the core bus services only cost $43 million that year. Adjust for inflation and that is $51 million in 2017 dollars! (double for bi-annual cost)

There is ABSOLUTELY no reason the GOP house and GOP senate can not agree on the GENEROUS $61.5 million in the house version. Met C can do many things for savings and revenue such as: modestly raise fares, cut LRT service to support peak use, and actually enforce ticket purchase to make closer to the $106 million to match the FY '04/'05 budget... mind you, this number included millions in subsidy for LRT, not just core bus service.

$61.5 Million is crucial because with any extra the Met C will likely keep back door funding failed mass transit like they always have. The 3 corridors being planned in Washington County haven't had a cent in direct funding from the legislature since 2011. Yet, with this back door funding they're moved full steam ahead because of over funding from even the GOP Legislature. 

The deadline is Monday 5-1-2017. Again. Please email and call them with these facts to show citizens are informed and to not believe the lies of the Met C threatening to cut off grandma's Metro mobility with the most painful cuts they can. The unelected Met Council fears nothing except responsible funding. unfortunately the media is all to willing to let them get away lying and holding elderly and disabled transit funding hostage. It's apparently so bad not one of the ten legislators has responded to give assurances they'll stick to the lower offer.

If Minnesota families have to live within a budget than so should the Met C. The 80+ non-metro county citizens are tired of funding the metro's mass transit. Urge legislators to cut funding back to pre-white elephant mass transit and stop the unsustainable expansion of mass transit. 

-Matt Behning

Legislators to write:
rep.paul.torkelson@house.mn,
rep.john.petersburg@house.mn,
rep.jon.koznick@house.mn,
rep.jeff.howe@house.mn,
rep.linda.runbeck@house.mn,
sen.scott.newman@senate.mn,
sen.john.jasinski@senate.mn,
sen.mary.kiffmeyer@senate.mn,
sen.david.osmek@senate.mn,
sen.dan.sparks@senate.mn,


House: 
Torkelson 651-296-9303
Runbeck 651-296-2907
Petersburg 651-296-5368
Koznick 651-296-6926
Howe 651-296-4373
Senate: 
Newman 651-296-4131
Jasinski 651-296-0284
Kiffmeyer 651-296-5655
Osmek 651-296-1282
Sparks 651-296-9248