Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Transit funding cut now only as bad as it used to be

The Metropolitan Council is now only expected to have a $51 million cut in funding instead of $109 million over the current biennium. But honestly, I'm not sure where the local news media ever got the $109 million number in the first place. I haven't found the numbers to make that math work.

To me, it looked like the original cut was $124 million, going from an appropriation of $72 million per year in 2010–2011 to just $10 million per year for 2012–2013. Now the reduction is only to $39 million per year (chopping $33 million per year or $66 million for the biennium), which still appears to be a drop of 46%.

In terms of the total annual budget for Metropolitan-area transit, this amounts to roughly a 10 or 11% annual trimming. Not great, but definitely more manageable. I'll keep suggesting bus stop consolidation, since I think the resulting speedups would allow cost savings while also driving more ridership. The $30-ish million annual cut is still conveniently sized to send the message that the GOP hates the Northstar and Hiawatha trains.

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