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Twin Cities' transit ridership continued growth trend in 2012


Transit ridership in the Twin Cities area exceeded goals in 2012, posting a "modest" increase over 2011, according to the Metropolitan Council.

Last year, riders boarded trains, buses and other forms of transit nearly 94 million times, which continued a "strong upward trend" of transit usage over the past decade, council officials said in a prepared statement.

Metro Transit remained the largest provider of transit service in Minnesota and the Twin Cities area, providing more than 80 million rides in 2012. Rail service, primarily the Metro Blue Line (Hiawatha), accounted for more than 11 million rides.

Although council members are pleased with the growth trend, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton's recently proposed quarter-cent region-wide sales tax for transit would be a "game-changer for transit investment and transit ridership," said Council Chairwoman Susan Haigh.

"If passed by the Legislature, the proposal will allow the council and other transit providers to expand the region's transit system in a way that keeps pace with population growth and ensures a world-class system that supports economic growth," she said.

The governor's proposal, which was included in his state budget plan, would help generate $250 million a year to fund transit expansion and operation in the region.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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