Updated: 11/05/2013 7:41 AM
Created: 11/04/2013 9:32 PM KSTP.com
By: Jay Kolls
The head of the Metropolitan Council supports a half-cent sales tax hike in the seven-county metro to help fund transportation needs.
Met Council Chair Susan Haigh says the increase would help fund much-needed transportation needs as the state struggles to keep up with transportation demands. Haigh, and other transportation officials, say the gas tax is not enough to keep transportation projects properly funded over the next several decades.
This all comes at a time when the Met Council is expanding bus rapid transit (BRT) across the Twin Cities.
Right now, there is only one BRT line in the Twin Cities.
The Red Line runs between Apple Valley and the Mall of America. It cost $112 million to complete the 16-mile line which opened in June of 2013. The Met Council would like more than a dozen BRT lines, with most of them connecting to light rail transit (LRT) lines.
The bulk of the new BRT lines would be on major arteries and a few of the other BRT lines would be along highways in the metro. The next BRT line to open should be the "A" Line which would start at the Hiawatha Blue Line LRT at 46th and Hiawatha in Minneapolis. It would cut across into St. Paul along Ford Parkway, up Snelling Avenue into Roseville. Construction on the "A" Line will start in 2014 and the completion date sometime in 2015.
The Orange Line BRT is already under construction down the middle of I-35W in Minneapolis. It has a completion date in 2019 and would end at the mega terminal behind Target Field.
The Met Council says each BRT line costs between $100 and $150-million to build. Governor Dayton supported a push in the last legislative session to increase the sales tax by a half-cent in the metro area to help fund transportation, but it did not pass the full Legislature.
Transportation officials and Met Council leaders hope the sales tax increase for the metro area will pass in the 2014 legislative session.
Click here to see maps of the lines.