Regardless of shutdown, Twin Cities transit funding in limbo

It’s deceptive.

The Metro Transit buses, trains, vans, and other services are still up and running at regular service levels.

Temporarily.

The Metropolitan Council, the agency in charge of most Twin Cities public transit, is using reserves to fill the tanks, pay the operators and keep everything rolling.

Without a state budget settlement, those reserves might last a few weeks.

Even with a budget settlement, Metro Transit folks have set public meetings next week to outline a worst case scenario.

That scenario envisions a new state budget with a $109 million transit funding cut over two years, which was proposed by the GOP.

Met Council officials say the result won’t be pretty. Suburban express and crosstown bus service slashed, direct bus service to the U of M cut, 500 employees laid off, and 200 buses idled. In other words, nearly a third of Metro Transit’s service goes away.

Oh yes, and then there’s the matter of fares increasing as much as fifty cents.

Raising fares. Cutting service. Not a formula for increasing ridership. In fact, Metro Transit folks predict the number of riders would nosedive.

And then it would take years to recover should service be restored in some unforseeable transit future.

Those public meetings where you can make your views known are next week:

Wednesday, July 6 – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Metropolitan Council Offices – Chambers

390 North Robert Street, St. Paul

Served by many transit routes

Thursday, July 7 – 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Minneapolis Central Library, Doty Board Room

300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis

Served by many transit routes