Editorial: Transit funding is hit hard in rural MN
Rural transit services in west central Minnesota and around the state are facing growing funding problems just as rider demand is increasing.
The demand is increasing for several reasons:
- Rural Minnesota has an aging population.
- Rural residents are learning to utilize transit services.
- Working people are finding personal transportation cost prohibitive.
- Increasing fuel prices will force more to rural public transit services.
Minnesota is home to more than 60 public transit systems. State officials claim these systems provided almost 12 million rides last year alone.
Transit systems, like Kandiyohi Area Transit and others in west central Minnesota, have been successful in building ridership in recent years.
This is confirmed by Minnesota Department of Transportation which forecasts a significant ridership increase in the near future.
However, KAT and other systems are facing funding challenges. MnDOT recently reduce rural transit funding by $400,000. Another $1.5 million reduction in MnDOT transit funding is expected to be coming.
Just as demand for rural transit is increasing, state funding appears to be drying up.
This appears to be just another case of greater Minnesota getting short changed by an metro-centric administration.