The Metropolitan Council’s decision making record for our region is pretty clear – over the past couple decades, we have spent an awful lot on roadways in the outer ring areas, while roads and sewers in the core cities and inner-suburbs are crumbling. Bus funding has been stagnant for a long time, leading to crowding and poor service on many important local bus routes that serve people who depend on transit to get around.  This status quo leads to racial and economic inequity throughout our region. It effectively has subsidized “white flight” and has fueled disinvestment and redlining in communities of color.

Over the past few years, your support of ISAIAH has allowed us to work with Metropolitan Council members to “shine the light” on how their funding and decision making authority can be used to reduce the racial and economic inequities found throughout our region.  Our work to monitor their plans and decisions and inviting Council members to meet with us in our congregations has begun to bear fruit.

Bus Shelters

Last spring, ISAIAH, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC) and TakeAction Minnesota launched the “People’s Transit Agenda” to highlight the need for light rail investments to create racial equity. NOC had surveyed hundreds of bus riders and identified the lack of bus shelters in North Minneapolis as a key agenda issue which became a central focus in public meetings and hearings organized by the community, the City of Minneapolis, and the Met Council.

After the Star Tribune published a front page investigative report about the inequity in bus shelter distribution, the Council agreed to place 24 new bus shelters in North Minneapolis. They also applied for and obtained a $5.8 million federal grant which will mean 150 new shelters built, 75-100 obsolete shelters replaced, and 75 renovated.

Leveraging Transportation Funding for Equity and Affordable Housing

After hearing from our clergy and leaders, the Transportation Advisory Board (TAB) for the Met Council passed a motion to revise the scoring criteria for a pot of $150 million in federal transportation funding coming to our region. The revision will mean that the funding will be leveraged for racial equity and affordable housing goals rather than suburban growth.

Minnesota Public Radio and MinnPost both covered this story: