Blog Post: Transit Helps Riders’ Pocketbooks & Drives Economic Growth

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Did you know that according to a recent American Automobile Association (AAA) study, the average car costs the owner over $8,000 per year before gasoline expenses? The costs of licensing, registration, taxes, depreciation, maintenance, insurance, and finance charges can add up to a hefty financial burden. In fact, the average person’s largest expense, after housing, is buying, maintaining, and operating personal vehicles. The average U.S. household spends 18 cents of every dollar on transportation, and 96% of that expense is spent on personal vehicles. Much of this expense is generated before you fill up at the pump.

AAA Study findings
Cost of Vehicle Ownership by Vehicle Type. Source: American Automobile Association (AAA), 2017

The pocketbook savings is one reason why more folks in the MAPO Planning Boundary are choosing to use the Mankato Transit System. It allows them to opt out of these expenses and save money.

The economic benefits of transit don’t stop at the individual; they extend to the entire community. Studies show that for every $1 communities invest in public transportation, approximately $4 is generated in economic returns. Transit is particularly important to local business owners, as 87% of trips on public transit have a direct impact on the local economy. Transit is a smart financial choice for both the individual and the community.

Source: American Automobile Association (AAA), American Public Transit Association

About the MAPO

The Mankato/North Mankato Area Planning Organization (MAPO) is responsible for regional transportation planning within and throughout the Greater Mankato area. This includes pedestrian, bicyclist, transit, automotive, rail, and aviation. The MAPO is the federally-designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the region’s urban/rural area. This means the MAPO must provide a continuing, coordinated, and comprehensive transportation planning process in order to obtain federal transportation funds.

The MAPO must prepare a long-range (20-year) Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) for the region every 4 years. It also selects projects for federal funding and prepares a four-year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), through the MAPO Policy Board, made up of local elected officials, and the Policy Board’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). The TIP includes all federally funded transportation projects in the MAPO area, and development of the TIP includes significant input from citizens and interested groups. The MAPO continually produces a wide range of studies, plans, and recommendations to improve transportation within and throughout the Greater Mankato area.

The MAPO was established in 2012 in response to the 2010 U.S. Census, which designated the Mankato/North Mankato region as an urbanized area (metropolitan statistical area–MSA), requiring the formation of a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).

MAPO is a partnership of the cities of Mankato, North Mankato, Eagle Lake, and Skyline; Blue Earth and Nicollet counties; and the townships of Belgrade, Lime, South Bend, LeRay and Mankato.

MAPO is directed by a six-member Policy Board and advised by a Technical Advisory Committee. The Technical Advisory Committee reviews and formulates recommendations to the Policy Board regarding plans for the Unified Planning Work Program, Long Range Transportation Plan, Transportation Improvement Program as well as other plans and studies MAPO prepares.

The MAPO is located at 10 Civic Center Plaza in Mankato, Minnesota. It is staffed by Executive Director Paul Vogel and Transportation Planner Charles Androsky.