Two big players in the field of transportation advocacy, outreach, and programming will join forces. Transit for Livable Communities and St. Paul Smart Trips will become one organization starting Jan. 1, officials from both nonprofits announced Wednesday.

The merger will create the largest transportation advocacy nonprofit in Minnesota, said Jennifer Harmening Thiede, communications manager for Transit for Livable Communities.

St. Paul Smart Trips works to improve access and mobility for those who travel in and around St. Paul. Transit for Livable Communities has been a strong voice for transportation reform in Minnesota. By merging, the organizations say they won't have to compete against each other for funding and will be in better position to  advance transportation issues on a region-wide scale.

“This decision to merge comes at a pivotal moment,” said Jessica Treat, who will lead the newly-formed organization. She is currently executive director of Transit for Livable Communities and once held that position at St. Paul Smart Trips. "We see that our region has critical work to do to create widespread access to bus, rail, car sharing, bicycling, and walking options, and to build stronger, more equitable communities. Through this merger, Transit for Livable Communities and St. Paul Smart Trips will be well-positioned to lead an even broader, more powerful transportation movement to make that change.”

The new organization will operate out of the current offices of Transit for Livable Communities at University and Raymond avenues in St. Paul. As for a name, that will be unveiled in spring.

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