Klobuchar, Smith Secure Significant Federal Funding to Strengthen Public Transit in Twin Cities Suburbs

MINNEAPOLIS – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) announced that the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has awarded $8.1 million in federal funding to strengthen public transit in the southwestern Twin Cities suburbs. Specifically, these resources will enable SouthWest Transit, which connects Chaska, Chanhassan, Eden Prairie and Edina to Minneapolis, to upgrade its bus fleet to include more energy-efficient, low-emission vehicles and bolster its bus facility infrastructure. 

“Investments in public transit help reduce traffic and make it easier for Minnesotans to get to school, work, and other destinations,” said Klobuchar. “This federal funding will help SouthWest Transit modernize its bus fleet and bus facilities, reducing emissions and allowing residents of the southwestern Twin Cities suburbs to efficiently reach Minneapolis. I’ll keep pushing for resources to ensure public transit is safe and reliable for all Minnesotans.”

“Each day, transit systems connect Minnesotans to their jobs, schools, grocery stores and countless other opportunities – all while reducing traffic congestion and pollution,” said Smith, Chair of the Senate Transit Subcommittee. “This funding will help modernize public buses and transit facilities in the Twin Cities suburbs while improving air quality and helping combat climate change. I am proud of our work to help secure these grants and will continue working to support public transportation across Minnesota.”

The FTA’s Low or No Emission Vehicle Program and Buses and Bus Facilities Program provide competitive grants to modernize bus fleets and bus facilities and support the purchase of more energy-efficient public transit vehicles. 

In April, Klobuchar and Smith secured $166.5 million in federal funding through the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to help communities across Minnesota expand transit services, modernize their fleets, and conduct necessary repairs. The law was enacted in November and makes the largest investment in public transit in U.S. history. The legislation delivers significant investments to improve the state’s roads, bridges, public transportation, and water infrastructure. 

Earlier this year, Smith chaired a Housing, Transportation, and Community Development Subcommittee hearing on the bipartisan infrastructure law’s effect on smaller cities and rural areas. The hearing, which featured testimony from national and Minnesota experts, was particularly focused on how the federal government could most effectively implement the law in small and rural communities.

In 2021, Senator Smith welcomed FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez to Minnesota to testify at a Transit Subcommittee hearing on Minnesota’s transit priorities.  More recently, Senator Smith chaired a field hearing earlier this summer in Minnesota aimed at elevating the infrastructure priorities in Minnesota and raising awareness for the funding opportunities available through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Senator Smith has also pushed the FTA to streamline their application process and make their competitive grant programs more accessible to Tribal and other under-resourced communities.