light rail train on winter street, Josh Hild

Make Your Voice Heard About How Met Council Disburses ~$200 Million in Federal Gas-Tax Funds!

Did you know?

Did you know that the Metropolitan Council is our region’s federally designated “Metropolitan Planning Commission,” or MPO? Among its duties as the MPO, every two years, the Met Council puts out a “Regional Solicitation,” the first step in a competitive grant process that determines how investments of federal transportation funds (i.e. sweet gas-tax money, baby), will be made in roads, bridges, public transit, and pedestrian and biking infrastructure and programming. You can check their website to learn much more about this process.

The amount of money on the table is anything but trivial. In the most recent round of grant-making, in 2020, over $209 million was invested in projects through the metropolitan region. You can see the range of projects funded and amounts invested through the 2020 solicitation process.

If you tally up the project amounts by category, you will see that over $120 million (over 57% of the total) was awarded to roadway projects, while just under $53 million (roughly 25% of the total) was awarded to transit-related projects, and roughly $36.5 million (under 18%) was awarded to bike and pedestrian projects. Some might argue that, in a time of increasingly obvious climate crisis, it would be appropriate to start allocating more of these funds to less carbon-intensive modes of transportation (i.e. transit and bike/pedestrian projects), and projects that have the potential to reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT).

Use your voice!

Met Council has recently opened a public comment period in which you, YES YOU, can weigh in with your thoughts about the next round of this funding cycle in 2022. You can comment here through 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 18. As a bonus, you can also offer your thoughts on a related program – the Highway Safety Improvement Program. But WAIT, there’s more! You can also comment on the Regional Bicycle Transportation Network plan while you’re on that page!

Brian C. Martinson

About Brian C. Martinson

I'm a resident of St. Paul, former Chair of the transportation committee of the Macalaster-Groveland Community Council and serve as the "non-motorized" representative on MetCouncil's Transportation Advisory Boar - TAB. A PhD in Sociology (Demography), and postdoctoral work in Epidemiology. I'm a year-round utility-cyclist. In other settings I think and write a lot about science policy, the biomedical research workforce, and the integrity of science.