As Congress debates efforts to boost economic recovery and build back better, U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) today joined labor, environmental, and faith leaders, and suburban elected officials at an event advocating for federal investments in Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). At the event, Rep. Phillips and advocates urged investments in future BRT lines to expand transit and economic opportunity, as well as create good jobs in our local economy building the lines and across the country building the materials needed for the project and reduce the pollution driving the climate crisis.
The event was held in Bloomington at a stop for the Orange Line BRT line—a 17-mile connection between Minneapolis, Richfield, Bloomington, and Burnsville along I-35W—that is expected to open later this year.
“Investing in modernizing our infrastructure is an all too rare opportunity for bipartisanship and will bring more federal tax dollars back to our state, create jobs, and build more sustainable, resilient communities,” said Phillips. “Transit investments build stronger futures for everyone, especially our children, families, workers, and small businesses. The Orange Line should be joined in the near future by other BRT lines that will serve to connect us all.”
“For the climate and for equitable access to jobs and opportunity, we need to build more rapid transit faster—and we can,” said State Rep. Patty Acomb (D-44B), Chair of the Minnesota House Climate Action Caucus. “When all these projects are built, we will have a network which connects many more people to opportunity and maximizes the benefits of our investment.”
“As a transit rider I see how important it is to my everyday life and how a big investment in transit will help workers and retirees alike,” said Kevin Morse, a retired member of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). “Congress needs to act now to build back better. Let’s get it done and make sure it is done the right way—growing good jobs here and around the country, reducing the emissions driving climate change, and making sure that we all have access to transit.”
“The Orange Line is the product of a bipartisan, urban/suburban coalition and will soon be the flagship of our fleet—a model for how we can build out a transit network, put people to work, provide affordable access to jobs and address the climate crisis,” said Peter Wagenius, Legislative and Political Director for the Sierra Club North Star Chapter. “The Orange Line BRT will have far more riders than any other BRT line in Minnesota, setting a new standard for what is possible when you put transit in the fast lane. We want to thank Rep. Phillips and to our state and local leaders for joining us today and for standing up for workers and communities.”
“Many in my congregation are concerned about climate change and want to build a healthy future for our families and the next generation of Minnesotans,” said Pastor Siri Strommen from Atonement Lutheran Church in Bloomington. “Investments now in transit and BRT will help us tackle the climate crisis and ensure that everyone has access to transit solutions to get them where they want to go.”
Over a dozen elected officials from the suburbs of Minneapolis and St. Paul attended the event in support.
“Building back better is America’s path toward a clean, thriving, and equitable future. We need a recovery For America, By America, making the products we need to repair our nation’s infrastructure and rebuild American manufacturing in the United States and more projects like the Orange Line will do both,” said Bree Halverson, Midwest Field Director for the BlueGreen Alliance, a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations working to build a clean, thriving, and equitable economy.