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September 25, 2014

Federal grant will aid bus stop improvements, advance transit equity

A federal grant will allow Metro Transit to build and enhance customer waiting shelters, advancing regional transit equity goals.

The Federal Transit Administration announced this week that Metro Transit received a $3.26 million Ladders of Opportunity grant to build and enhance up to 140 bus waiting shelters on 19 major bus routes. The FTA made $100 million in grant funding available through the Ladders of Opportunity program to improve transit services that enhance access to economic opportunities for low-income individuals. Metro Transit will provide a local match of $815,000.

The combined $4 million in funding will be directed toward shelter improvements in areas of racially concentrated poverty. Portions of 46 local Metro Transit bus routes serve these areas. Combined, these routes account for nearly 20 percent of the region’s weekday rides.

“This grant will allow us to improve the experience for thousands of customers who use transit on a daily basis and help fulfill our commitment to regional transit equity,” Metropolitan Council Chair Sue Haigh said. “Shelters are just one element of a strong regional transit network but provide a level of safety, security and comfort that should be shared across our region.”

The Metropolitan Council’s Regional Transit Equity Plan, to be adopted later this year, calls for the addition of up to 200 new customer waiting shelters in Metro Transit’s service area, with a focus on areas of racially concentrated poverty. Half of the shelters will be at new locations and the rest will replace existing shelters, according to the equity plan. Equity is also a cornerstone of the Council’s recently-adopted long-range plan, Thrive MSP 2040.

The Ladders of Opportunity grant comes in addition to state and local funding that has been dedicated to shelter improvements. Amenities like heat, lighting and transit information will be added to shelters where practical.

Metro Transit has begun to identify sites where waiting shelters may be added or enhanced. Further site assessments and a program of community engagement, also funded by the Ladders of Opportunity grant, will occur this fall to develop a more detailed workplan

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Contact: Drew Kerr, Metro Transit, drew.kerr@metrotransit.org, 612-349-7758 

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