Dayton holds forum to discuss cuts to transit

Dayton's transit forum
The group, Transit for Livable Communities, dropped off thousands of postcards to urge Gov. Mark Dayton and state lawmakers to not cut transit funding.
MPR Photo/Tom Scheck

People who depend on mass transit told Gov. Mark Dayton Thursday that they're worried cuts in funding for bus and light-rail service will mean higher fares and fewer routes.

Dayton held a forum at the Capitol to talk about cuts to transit in budget plans put forward by the House and Senate. House Republicans are proposing a $120 million cut over the next two years to transit services. Senate Republicans would cut $32 million.

Kathleen Murphy of Richfield says she needs to ride the bus because she's disabled.

"I've been on the bus riding since we had a 50 cent fare," Murphy said. "And it's rapidly just continuing and continuing and continuing. People can holler about that the gas prices are going up but the gas prices come down. The fare increases go up but the fare increases never come down."

Dayton said he's holding discussions to highlight the impacts of Republican budget cuts.

Dayton is proposing an income tax increase to help erase the state's $5 billion budget deficit. Republicans say they can erase the deficit through spending cuts.