LRT pays off for low-wage workers, study says

Has light rail worked in Minneapolis? A study from the University of Minnesota says at least one component of the master plan has: It’s given more low-income income earners access to more jobs.

The study, released a short time ago, said the number of low-wage jobs within 30 minutes’ commuting time increased by 50 percent:


In addition, low-wage workers have increasingly been locating near station areas. Hiawatha and related transit upgrades are estimated to have drawn 907 low-wage workers into the Hiawatha station areas. Out of the 907 relocated workers, 78 percent moved to areas near the Cedar-Riverside, Franklin Avenue and Lake Street-Midtown stations.

Likewise, the number of low-wage employers has increased near station areas, with Hiawatha and related transit upgrades having, by estimate, brought in more than 5,000 low-wage jobs into areas near downtown Minneapolis and suburban Bloomington light-rail stations.

  • Alison

    This would seem to be the opposite of projections we have been hearing about the Central Corridor. Haven’t we heard fears of gentrification and making housing unaffordable?

  • Bob Moffitt

    Consider the historical voting patterns of low-wage earning urban residents and you will understand better why many conservatives always speak ill of mass transit.

  • JackU

    Consider the historical voting patterns of low-wage earning urban residents and you will understand better why many conservatives always speak ill of mass transit.

    I’m guessing that political alignment has little to do with the opposition. The neighborhoods listed in the article are not going to shift politically because of this movement. (They are already voting against conservative interests.)

    I think most conservatives oppose mass transit funding because they believe that it takes away from road repair/construction funding. Since they don’t use the transit options, but use the roads they want the money going for the roads. (I know and you know that better transit means less wear and tear on the roads, but some people don’t care.)

  • Alison

    \\I think most conservatives oppose mass transit funding because they believe that it takes away from road repair/construction funding.

    I agree with that, but additionally, for some reason ‘Mass Transit’ equals ‘Big Government’ and ‘More/Bigger Roads’ does not.

    For others, mass transit is seen as a handout to the poor who wouldn’t be poor if they worked harder.

  • GregS

    So what the U of M is saying is “low-wage” people prefer “high-cost” transportation to “low-cost” buses?

    That is an odd assertion, even for the U.

    Why do “low-wage” workers prefer steel-wheels to rubbers one?

    Why can’t we develop ways to move rubber-wheeled buses more quickly around the city, to get even more “low-wage” workers to their jobs on time?

    Oh, but that wouldn’t create big tax breaks for the friends-of-the-DFL.

    LRT is about tax breaks for developers, not transportation… Keep in mind, the biggest share of the tax breaks go to the murky who-ever-owns-the-Startribune-at-the-moment.