A key source of transit funding in the Twin Cities, the Counties Transit Improvement Board, took the first step Wednesday to disband — again.
Formed in 2008, the CTIB raises money for metro-area transit projects through a quarter-cent sales tax levied in Hennepin, Ramsey, Dakota, Anoka and Washington counties, as well as a $20 charge on new and used car sales.
To date, CTIB has raised nearly $1 billion to support transit projects in the metro, including the Green Line LRT.
The board tried to dissolve itself in March, but Dakota County balked at the breakup fee. Now, a new deal is on the table.
With Wednesday's action, each CTIB county must hold separate public hearings by June 21 to approve the dissolution plan, and enact a replacement transportation/transit tax. Hennepin and Ramsey counties are expected to raise the transit tax to a half-cent, while Dakota, Anoka and Washington counties will likely stick with the quarter-cent levy.
The difference from now on is that each CTIB county will keep tax revenue for local projects, and not necessarily for a regional transit network.
If the counties approve the dissolution, the new replacement taxes will begin Oct. 1.
"We're good, we're moving forward," said CTIB Chair Peter McLaughlin, also a Hennepin County commissioner. "It's never simple."
The resolution approved by CTIB involves repaying about $92 million in debt that was used to construct the Green Line, and making cash payments to Anoka County of $4.1 million; to Dakota County of $21.3 million, and to Washington County of $9.78 million.
Current projects supported by CTIB include the Southwest and Bottineau LRT lines; the Orange Line I-35W bus-rapid transit (BRT); the Gateway Gold Line BRT from St. Paul to Woodbury; the Riverview line between Union Depot and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport; Red Rock BRT from Union Depot to Hastings; the overhaul of the Mall of America, Armstrong, Hanson and Cedar Grove transit stations, and Northstar commuter rail improvements.