The following was released by Hennepin County:
The Counties Transit Improvement Board voted at its February meeting to support Gov. Mark Dayton’s proposed quarter-cent local sales tax increase for dedicated transit funding in the region.
“Not only are we competing for scarce federal dollars to build transit investments like the Southwest Light Rail Line, we are also competing with other regions to attract companies and talent," said Counties Transit Improvement Board Chair Peter McLaughlin.
"Using the metro area sales tax as a long-term funding source allows the region to plan ahead and build the kinds of transit investments Minnesota needs.”
The proposed quarter-cent increase in the regional transit sales tax would be imposed across the seven-county metropolitan region for the build-out of the Metropolitan Council's adopted plan for transit expansion. This would include new light rail transit, bus rapid transit or commuter rail lines to serve major corridors; expanding the bus system to meet growing ridership across the region; and providing a long-term source of funding to stabilize operating budgets.
CTIB’s vote to support increased funding for transit expansion comes on the heels of a recent public opinion poll showing broad support for expanded and improved public transit. Nearly two-thirds of voters surveyed statewide support increasing the metro area sales tax in order to fund transit improvements.
Minnesota’s three largest local Chambers of Commerce – the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce, Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, and TwinWest Chamber of Commerce – hired a bipartisan team of nationally known pollsters Public Opinion Strategies and Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates to conduct the poll of 700 Minnesota voters. The poll was taken Jan. 6-8.