Fare Increase by Met Council Won’t Fill Budget Gap

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Credit: Metro Transit

MINNEAPOLIS — For thousands of Minnesota residents who depend on public transportation as a means of getting around the Twin Cities area, that ride will become more expensive if approved by by the Met Council on Wednesday.

The proposal by the Met Council would increase transit fares by 25 cents.

According to the Met Council, the proposed hike in transit fares would attempt to compensate the rising deficits in the regional transit budget.

Currently, the budget deficit is projected to be $74 million, but the Met Council estimates that cuts on Metro Transit by the Minnesota Legislature would nearly double the deficit to approximately $140 million.

However, the 25 cent raise in transportation prices would only cover 20 percent of the $74 million deficit. The hike would do even less for the projected deficit of $140 million. The council gave no timeline of when their deficit would hit $140 million. The hike in prices would only cover 10 percent of the projected shortfall.

Proposed rates for regular routes at a 25 cent rent hike would range from $2.00 to $3.25, but for Metro Mobility and Transit Link, proposed rates would be much more steep.

Prices could rise 50 to 75 cents per ride, with an additional $1.25 surcharge to rides longer than 15 miles.

While the Met Council does not explain how they ended up with a projected budget deficit of $74 million to $140 million. The council still continues to push for the expansion of transit programs in the seven county region. The Met Council has been the strongest proponent of the billion dollar Southwest Light Rail construction program.

It has been nearly a decade since Metro transit fares were raised, but Tim Harlow of the Star Tribune reports the majority of ride goers are not impressed.

According to the Star Tribune, many of those who have reached out to comment on the proposed raise, expect the rise in cost to hurt lower-income families who rely on transportation everyday.

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