Transit Funding 101 in St. Paul and Minneapolis


Have you ever rushed to the bus stop in the morning only to find that ominous sign informing you that your bus route has suspended service?  Inevitably, you wonder who is in charge of the bus routes and how their decision making process works.  This week, you have the chance to find out.  On Wednesday and Thursday, Transit for Livable Communities is hosting Transit Funding 101.

On December 8, residents of St. Paul are invited to the Selby Community Room (Selby and Dale Avenues, St. Paul-served by the 21 and 65 bus lines) to view project materials and provide feedback for everything from community needs to preliminary concepts for the future of our transit system.  Minneapolis residents get their own conference on December 9 at the Sierra Club (2327 East Franklin Avenue) – appropriately accessible from the 2 and 8 bus routes, the Hiawatha Light Rail, and, for those of us who travel by bicycle year-round, the Greenway.

The organizer of the event, Transit for Livable Communities, is a nonprofit organization working to reform Minnesota’s transportation system.  They operate on three principles: advocacy, organization, and research.  They aim to inform the public of local transit policy and involve citizens in the ongoing process of working to maximize the efficiency of our public transportation.  In 2008, they were instrumental in the $100 million transportation bill that the Minnesota legislature passed over Governor Pawlenty’s veto.

The organization believes that more funding is needed to provide statewide expansion of our current system.  Currently, they are working to prevent the funding cuts they foresee in 2011.  In addition to adequate funding, they promote efficiency.  Dave Van Hattum, TLC’s transit policy expert, says that “transparent planning and accountability for results should be a top priority.” 

Van Hattum will lead a presentation at the conference.  In addition to receiving information about funding and policy-making, attendees will be encouraged to participate in the organization’s ongoing process to build a better transit system for the entire state of Minnesota.  The conference is an excellent opportunity for people to have their voices heard, since TLC is an influential organization that works directly with the state legislature.

Both meetings will start at 7 PM and are scheduled to go until 8:30.