Twin Cities Transit Ridership Up, Funding Down

Ridership is up on transit in the Twin Cities. Fewer cars are being sold, and tax revenues are down. With little funding expected to fill the gap, transit fare increases may be on the horizon.
February 5, 2009, 11am PST | Nate Berg
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"With huge declines in car sales that generate revenue from Minnesota's motor vehicle sales tax, it could invite difficult decisions that could include another fare increase, Peter Bell told about 200 people gathered at Maplewood Community Center. The vehicle sales tax supplies about 38 percent of the money the Met Council needs to operate buses and trains."

"Bell said he expected the problem to worsen by the time the state releases its updated budget forecast this month. He said the shortfall -- which one county commissioner called a "serious problem" -- would extend to suburban bus companies."

"Because many people aren't buying new cars, the Met Council is receiving far less revenue from motor vehicle sales taxes; in the current fiscal year those receipts are down $12 million from five years ago, and the council forecasts a budget shortfall of $45 million over the next two years."

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Published on Tuesday, February 3, 2009 in Minneapolis-St.Paul Star Tribune
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