On Saturday at 2 pm, transit riders will host a panel discussion speaking directly to Met Council members about how to make SWLRT equitable for low-income communities and communities of color.
As concerns from Kenwood residents about light rail in their neighborhood dominate discussion of the proposed new SWLRT line, the needs of low-income transit riders have been largely absent from the public conversation. Transit rider panelists will speak about the need for better and faster bus service through their communities that connects to light rail, lower fares, and amenities like bus shelters and heaters.
The SWLRT will cost an estimated $1.7 billion to construct. Governor Mark Dayton has approved an additional $400 million in contingency funding, should the project be approved. NOC organizer Michael McDowell has organized a North Minneapolis bus canvass, producing 300 surveys in the last month. Emerging from the surveys is a clear demand for an equitable investment of those public dollars.
“As we develop a billion-dollar light rail project, we need to make sure the communities that rely most on transit will benefit from it,” said Michael McDowell, transit organizer at NOC. “This is a crucial opportunity for us to increase racial equity in our transit system, and make it work better for all of us.