The Metropolitan Council has a great idea: let's take the federal stimulus dollars and use it to keep the buses running in the Twin Cities Region.
Metropolitan Council Chairman Peter Bell said Monday the problem is so bad he'll need to raid other funds and use federal stimulus dollars not to build but merely to pay operating and maintenance costs to avoid cutting service.
The council — Metro Transit's parent agency — faces a projected $45 million shortfall over the next two years, and Bell said that deficit will likely grow as the economy continues to contract. A major reason is transit relies on proceeds from a tax on motor vehicle sales, which have plummeted.
While every transit agency in the country wants to do this I am glad some are starting to speak out loud and let the elected officials know what is going to happen if the dollars don't go towards maintenance and general operating costs. Is this the best use of money, I am not completely sure, but would we rather see the local bus system deteriorate over the next three years? I think not.