Minneapolis-Saint Paul, MN — Last month the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce and Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce endorsed a metro area sales tax increase of up to 0.5% dedicated to building an integrated and comprehensive transit system throughout the Twin Cities metropolitan area.
The final version of the Omnibus Transportation Finance bill does not include the sales tax provision.
The Minneapolis Regional and Saint Paul Area Chambers have also been working with the TwinWest, Edina, and Eden Prairie Chambers in support of Southwest LRT (SWLRT). The bill includes $37 million to keep SWLRT moving forward. SWLRT will serve the southwest metro. The corridor includes approximately 210,000 private sector jobs and that number is expected to grow to 270,000 jobs by 2030. SWLRT is expected to provide 10 million rides a year.
Minneapolis Regional Chamber President Todd Klingel and Saint Paul Area Chamber President Matt Kramer issued the following joint statement on behalf of their chambers regarding the bill:
“It’s unfortunate that the legislature was unable to make significant progress this year towards building a comprehensive transit system. We know from conversations, polling, and research that businesses and citizens are demanding a 21st century transportation system.
“We’re pleased that funding was included to keep Southwest LRT on track. This extension of the light rail system will serve one of our region’s key economic corridors and will help connect more workers with job opportunities. SWLRT has been designated as a top project by the federal government and this state support is an important step forward.
“Although this funding is good news, we believe it is important to make an ongoing investment in a transportation system that will help us compete with our peer cities and keep and grow jobs here. The Itasca Project’s study found a complete transit system would produce regional benefits of $2 to $9 billion. For the Twin Cities to thrive, we need to find a way to make that system a reality.”