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Tuesday Talk: How will declining transportation options impact you?

May 31, 2011 By Joe Sheeran, Communications Director

When fuel prices are this high, people start looking at transit as an alternative to driving. But Minnesota’s Legislature just slashed $109 million in transit funding. If a budget compromise doesn’t reduced that cut, Minnesotans will certainly have fewer transit options.  

How will this transportation crunch impact your household’s commuting decisions?    

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  • Bernice Vetsch says:

    May 31, 2011 at 8:56 am

    As a senior, I pay only 75 cents (except in rush hour) to ride either a bus or light rail.  This cost will surely rise, since this new cut comes on top of the annual Pawlenty cuts that forced route frequency reductions and eliminations.

    This alternative to driving means I leave my car in the garage and either walk or, if the distance is over 3 to 4 miles, take the bus. I’ll continue to do this when prices rise. 

    The people most harmed will be low-wage workers who stand on freezing corners waiting for buses that now will be further apart in time and who may not be able to afford the rise in cost ... but who will have to pay it anyhow and cut somewhere else, like groceries.

  • Jill says:

    May 31, 2011 at 10:07 am

    My family owns only one car. We are able to get by this way because I work out of my home and only need a car once or twice a week to see clients. On those days, my husband takes the bus to work. He would love to take the bus every day but it’s an indirect route that more than doubles his commute time. (At one time there was a direct route, but it’s been eliminated.)

    If his current routes are reduced or eliminated, the bus option would no longer be a workable solution for our family. We would have to make significant, painful cuts in the rest of our family budget to afford another car.

  • Dorothee Aeppli says:

    May 31, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Public Transportation is, as the name suggests, for the public, not just for people who have to commute to work and cannot afford the high price for gasoline. With respect to Medicare you hear the warning that with an aging population the number of Medicare beneficiaries will increase. Among those there are many who should not be driving anymore (e.g. diminishing eyesight, shrinking height, flexibility to back out of a parking lot) but who can easily ride a bus, light rail- if public transportation is available for them.
    Please reconsider the proposed reduction in support for public transportation.

  • Sandi Karnowski says:

    May 31, 2011 at 10:57 am

    I always feel that Minnesota is so far behind.  My son just moved back to Mpls. after 12 years in Washington, DC.  He is starting a job downtown tomorrow.  He asked me where the nearest light rail stop was.  It was a matter of fact kind of question.  He had been away so long, he thought surely Mpls. had built a rail system by now.  We live in Crystal. We DO not have any system in place or even on the drawing pad.  What a shame!  I hope he finds a transit solution to get downtown to his new job.  The fact that the Republican led legislature slashed funding, is beyond me.  Are we living in a 3rd world country?

  • Bill Graham says:

    May 31, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Having followed “transit wars” in the Twin Cities since 1972, I know that suburban conservative legislators periodically take control in St Paul.  They do their utmost to tear down what public transit we have, because they don’t believe it should exist at all.  They see it as an extravegance intended only to serve the poor, the elderly, children, minorities and other non-drivers, none of whom, in their view, deserve to receive publically funded services.  We are blessed to have county commissioners in Hennepin, Dakota and Anoka Counties who put the lie to this foolishness.  Without Peter McLaughlin, light rail in the Twin Cities still would be a pipedream.  Without Ted Mondale and Peter Bell, our Met Council’s transit plan would be little more than good intentions.  Progress always is hard, but it seems harder when it comes to public transit.

    Bill Graham

  • Peter Kelley says:

    May 31, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    As a person with disabilities my attitude towards the MN Legislature could be summarize as such:

    “If they cut x amount out of transportation; I guess they do not want people to go to, or commute, to work.  That effects both able bodied persons and disabled persons.  We can either let this effect us negatively or ... turn this into a national opportunity.

    “May I suggest to the able bodied persons of MN that a bicycle revolt begin where Minnesotans leave the automobile behind in history, and put the bicycle in its rightful place in history.  Let our state send a loud message to the rest of the USA that says we do a alternatives; we just have to use them.

    “True, We may can have severe winters which may hinder this change of life.  The pressures of the world are demanding a change, and the demand of the people will alter other aspects of society to accommodate the change for bikes.

    “Bear-in-mind I have thought about this for over 30 years, and I strongly believe that this can happen.  And now is the time to let it happen.”

    Peter Kelley
    St. Paul, MN USA

  • Christeen Stone says:

    May 31, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    Two years ago i could have taken the NEST
    bus any where in Maplewood, North St Paul, or Woodbury for a nominal fee with door to door pickup and delivery. They decided that was too expensive so we are a half a mile from the bus station. With two big senior housing areas with in a half mile of me that is ridiculous. Now they want to raise the fare for non-service. I do not drive in winter so that means unless I have some one to take me I stay home. Many of the people in those senior buildings do not have cars. I have been a bus rider for 23 years in being an advocate at the legislature, because I feel it just did not make sense to drive a car alone. Seems the people in Power this year are really out to diss seniors and low income people every way they can. Don’t they have parents or grandparents they can relate too??
              Christeen M Stone