ST. PAUL, Minn.- The County Transit Improvement Board (CTIB) voted on Wednesday, May 31, to dissolve itself and split its responsibilities amongst the county governments.
CTIB was founded in 2008 as a mechanism by which to raise funds for the many infrastructure projects being done in the Twin Cities Metro. The raising of funds was done through a quarter-cent sales tax levied in Hennepin, Dakota, Anoka, Washington, and Ramsey, as well as a $20 charge on new and used cars. One of the main projects that CTIB funded was the Green Line LRT.
The vote to dissolve CTIB on Wednesday will now have to be followed up with meetings by each of CTIBs component counties. The counties will decide whether or not to support the dissolution plan or not during these meetings, finalizing CTIBs dissolution if they vote affirmatively.
Dissolution will mean a couple of things for the metro counties. Hennepin and Ramsey counties are expected to raise the transportation tax levy to a half cent, while the rest are expected to maintain the quarter cent levy. The dissolution plan also means the repaying of $92 million in debt used to construct the Green Line, as well as $4.1 million to Anoka County, $21.3 million to Dakota County, and $9.78 million to Washington County.
There are also further commitments for each of the counties, including Anoka County being responsible for 81.4 percent of CTIBs funding contributions to the Northstar Commuter Rail and the 2017 Operating Agreement for the Northstar Commuter Rail Project with the Metropolitan Council. Dakota County will assume 14 percent of CTIBs commitment toward the funding of the bus rapid transit (BRT) Orange Line, as well as 14 percent of the project development associated with CTIB.
Ramsey County will assume responsibility of 40 percent of the CTIB Central Rail Corridor LRT operating cost and fifty percent of CTIB’s Project Development Fund and capital payments. Washington County will assume the other fifty percent of CTIB’s Project Development Fund and capital payments.
Hennepin County assumes the greatest share of responsibilities, including operating costs from CTIB of 18.6 percent for the Northstar Commuter Rail, 100 percent of CTIB’s commitment to the Blue Line, and 60 percent of CTIB’s commitment to the Green Line.
The dissolution of CTIB causes many worries for Republican lawmakers. Senator David Osmek told Alpha News that the dissolution of the CTIB gives less power to the state legislature in the funding process of metro infrastructure projects. Furthermore, if further funding from the national government does come through on metropolitan infrastructure projects such as the extension of the light rail, it will be difficult for the state government to stop such an expansion.