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ST. PAUL, MN-Transportation is the “single most important problem facing the metro area” in this year’s Twin Cities Annual Survey, co-sponsored by the Metropolitan Council and conducted since 1982 by the University of Minnesota Center for Survey Research. Another big concern is the cost or affordability of housing, mostly, which showed the sharpest jump in concern over the past two years.

Just three years ago, only 1% said housing was the No. 1 problem. This year, 16% cited housing as the top issue, up from 10% last year. Of those polled, 23% cite transportation, mostly traffic or congestion, as the No. 1 problem, compared to just 3% to 4% of people responding to the survey between 1993 and 1995. Overall, metro-area residents continueto give the region high marks for quality of life — although that perception is eroding a little.

Metropolitan Council chair Ted Mondale says he’s concerned that growing congestion may be affecting how residents perceive the Twin Cities area. The survey further shows very strong support – 71% — for transportation alternatives. “The Minnesota House isclearly out of step with public opinion on this issue,” says Mondale, whose agency is in charge of the Metropolitan Transit Commission, which runs the public bus lines. “The House has supported a level of funding that, if it prevails, will force significant cuts inbus service that will affect thousands of people throughout the region.”

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