Metro Transit on crash course with major layoffs, fare hikes

The looming government shutdown will almost certainly impact bus and light rail service across the Twin Cities. But the long-range impact of the budget mess carries even worse news for commuters.

Metro Transit will be forced to lay off 500 employees, eliminate 200 bus routes, and curtail service by 25 percent if a $109 million budget cut proposed by the GOP-controlled Legislature is enacted.

Because when it comes to commuting, the folks who got elected promising "jobs, jobs, jobs" actually meant cutting jobs, and making it harder for people with jobs to get to work.

And that's despite the fact that more people are using Metro Transit than ever.

Transit authority representatives presented the numbers to the Met Council yesterday. And they've scheduled a series of public hearings all over the Twin Cities and affected suburbs through August to help riders brace for the impact.

In April, business leaders told lawmakers in St. Paul the proposed budget cuts would cripple local economies. Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed the proposed transit cuts in May, but that doesn't mean they aren't in play now.

The full list of scheduled hearings on transit cuts is published here; the first is July 6 at Minneapolis Central Library.