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Legislative support builds for Route 495 funding

The Minnesota House and Senate Transportation Committees have passed omnibus bills containing policy and funding provisions. The House Transportation Omnibus File 4160 bill contains essential funding to continue to operate Route 495, a Suburb-to-Suburb Demonstration Project that has seen significant ridership growth in the past year and has been supported by several public-private partnerships.

The House Transportation Omnibus bill contains a provision allocating $2.5 million capital funding and $1 million operating funding for the Suburb to Suburb Demonstration Project. The bills now move on to the Finance and Ways and Means Committees, where they will likely become part of an overall omnibus supplemental budget bill. 

Route 495 is currently running six buses that are past retirement age and near to exhausting their useful life. The average age of 495 buses is 13 years. The more miles and less fuel efficiency result in a 38% annual higher operating cost for maintenance and repairs to keep the vehicles in service.

“We are grateful that state legislators supported this demonstration project and the ridership growth and public-private partnerships are the results,” said MVTA Executive Director Luther Wynder.

Route 495 connects Shakopee to Burnsville Transit Station and Mall of America, providing transportation options to the fast-growing employment base in Scott County as well as providing leisure travel options to south metro residents.

Since inception in August of 2016, Route 495 has helped foster expanded partnerships with Mystic Lake Casino in Prior Lake and Canterbury Park and Amazon in Shakopee.

MVTA also realigned its Route 465, which serves the Cedar Riverside area, to provide a timed connection with Route 495, providing a transportation link for employees to Amazon and other businesses in the south metro.

The 465-495 route enhancements began in August 2017 and have been supported by the business community.

“Employer participation has had a direct impact on the success of this route,” said MVTA Board Chair William Droste. “Route 495 has shown great growth in a short period of time.”

The Suburb to Suburb Transit Service has seen incredible 72.2 percent growth in ridership throughout 2017 and now accounts for more than 4 percent of MVTA’s total monthly ridership.   

Route 495 has designated stops at Marschall Road Transit Station in Shakopee, Burnsville Transit Station and the Mall of America.

For more details on Route 495 and a link to the pocket schedule, go to https://www.mvta.com/routes/495/.