More than 100 people gathered in 5 degree weather at a rally organized by ISAIAH to ask the Minnesota Legislature to move on comprehensive transportation funding. Rev. James Alberts II, Pastor Higher Ground Church of God in Christ, St. Cloud, part of the St. Cloud contingent that boarded the train in St. Cloud at 6:15 AM, said, “It should not take an act of God to get transportation in order for us to get transportation!”
Socorro Lopez, Brooklyn Center told of not being able to board a bus because she had her child and a stroller and she had to wait an hour for the next one. Harry Maddox, Minneapolis, described losing a job because his bus was late and in being late getting to St. Cloud to see his daughter. Lt Gov. Tina Smith addressed both situations, “We’ve got a plan for how to fix this.”
DFL Senator Scott Dibble urged the attendees to keep the pressure on their legislators. He and Minneapolis DFL Representative Frank Hornstein committed to participate in the next ISAIAH event asking all the legislators to ride to work on public transportation the first week in March.
Transportation facts and figuresOver the past ten years, metro area bus ridership has increased 14% and outstate ridership has increased 25%–but funding for buses has stayed flat.
In the Twin Cities metro area, only 10% of jobs and 25% of households have access to convenient transit, placing us behind Denver, Seattle, Portland and even Milwaukee.