Metro Transit and state officials unveiled the first completely electric bus in the agency's fleet Thursday. Eight all-electric buses will run on the C Line, a bus rapid transit route linking Brooklyn Center, north Minneapolis and downtown Minneapolis that's scheduled to start on June 8.
In his budget recommendations released this week, Gov. Tim Walz proposed an increase in the metro-area sales tax to expand bus and transit lines. If instituted, that increase would raise an estimated $770 million over the next 10 years.
"We in Minnesota are taking a lead on carbon reductions and addressing climate change at the same time as we're improving people's mobility," Walz said Thursday.
Metropolitan Council Chair Nora Slawik said that the proposed budget would allocate funds for 10 new bus rapid transit lines in the region within a decade. Slawik said it would also allow the Met Council to put hundreds of electric buses on Twin Cities roads.
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Metro Transit plans to eventually replace their entire fleet with electric vehicles. They could purchase as many as 125 by 2022. The agency already operates about 130 hybrid vehicles.
The C Line has stops on Minneapolis' north side, and is expected to carry about 9,000 people a day within about 10 years.
Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan said the line will help residents in the northern part of the Twin Cities — especially people of color and indigenous people — access job opportunities.
"Transit investments build community prosperity and ensure that everyone shares in that prosperity," Flanagan said. "We believe that our investment in transit helps to create equity and truly is reflective of one Minnesota."
The C Line is one of several bus rapid transit lines in development in the Twin Cities. The A Line already operates between Roseville, St. Paul and Minneapolis. Metro Transit's bus rapid transit lines feature more reliable service, ticketing similar to light rail, and displays with wait times.