MINNEAPOLIS (May 4, 2017) – The BlueGreen Alliance today called on lawmakers to follow Governor Dayton’s lead and fully fund transit priorities in their omnibus transportation bill. The groups also warned that cuts to transit could endanger transit and bus manufacturing jobs in the state—particularly jobs in Greater Minnesota.
“The Republicans have put forward a transportation plan that deeply cuts transit and endangers projects that could support quality jobs around the state,” said Bree Halverson, regional program manager for the BlueGreen Alliance in Minnesota. “Transit isn’t just a life line to people around the state, it is also an industry that creates good jobs.”
To illustrate the breadth of the supply chain and direct suppliers in the state, the BlueGreen Alliance released a fact sheet that included a map of more than 70 facilities that together employ thousands of Minnesotans supplying parts, remanufacturing existing products and manufacturing and assembling transit vehicles and infrastructure.
“A strong transit system really is a win-win proposition for Minnesota’s economy and communities,” said Margaret Levin, State Director for the Sierra Club North Star Chapter. “By investing in transit, you get the immediate return of supporting family supporting manufacturing jobs around the state—while reducing air pollution and congestion and ensuring that Minnesotans can get to work, school, or wherever they need to go.”
Transit is a vital part of the state’s infrastructure. A 2014 report by the state’s Department of Transportation found that there are 61 transit systems operating in 86 counties. It found that there were over 106 million total passenger trips, with 11.9 million of those taking place in Greater Minnesota in 2013. The current proposal the legislature—House File 861—would ensure a $35 million Met Council transit deficit, force a nearly 10 percent cut in bus routes operated by Metro Transit and includes policies that would directly stifle light-rail projects already in planning.
“It really is mind-boggling to see leaders in the Minnesota Legislature refusing to support these job-creating investments in transit,” said Levin. “If Republican leadership succeeds in these attacks on our transit system, the impact on families around our state will be significant, and painful.”