Skip to main content

2040 plan for metro: Big growth, water and travel challenges

  • Author:
  • Updated:

The Metropolitan Council on Wednesday approved a 30-year plan that anticipates a vastly different future for the Twin Cities, with a much larger, more diverse population facing significant transportation and water challenges, among others.

The "Thrive MSP 2040" plan projects a huge population spike – the addition of 824,000 residents, 29 percent growth from 2010.

The plan also forecasts the addition of 550,000 new jobs, a 34 percent increase.

Among the problems that metro-area leaders face: inadequate transportation funding and draining groundwater aquifers, along with an aging wastewater infrastructure.

The transportation plan is ambitious, and at the direction of the federal government, will include policy direction beyond the seven-county (Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Ramsey, Scott and Washington counties) region.

When it comes to water, the 2040 plan notes that "our reliance on groundwater is unsustainable."

The water resources plan calls for more regional partnerships and sustainability planning, given that "increased pumping of groundwater to support development is depleting aquifers, affecting lakes, streams, and wetlands. In some areas, groundwater levels have been dropping a foot a year since the 1970s."

Thrive 2040 also forecasts a dramatically shifting population – by 2040, the metro could be 40 percent people of color. That can be a challenge because, traditionally, minorities have faced racial disparities in education and income.

The 2040 plan also notes that the region is aging: More than one in five residents will be age 65 and older in 2040, compared to one in nine in 2010.

The Metropolitan Council is the seven-county regional policy-making body tasked with long-term planning and anticipating growth – along with the water, housing, and transit challenges associated with it.

The Thrive MSP 2040 plan is designed by the council to be a guide for the panel as it sets policy. The plan "reflects our concerns and aspirations, anticipates future needs in the region, and addresses our responsibility to future generations," the council says.

But Thrive 2040 has also come under fire as cities with competing interests question whether the plan favors other areas.

Suburban area leaders are worried that the plan favors the urban core, while Minneapolis officials are concerned the plan pays too much attention to suburban growth, the Star Tribune reports. Others question whether issues of "racial equity" will play too much of a factor in guiding growth decisions, the newspaper notes.

Minneapolis' population recently hit 400,000 for the first time since the mid-1970s, as the city reverses years of decline.

The city’s population hit a historic high of 521,718 in the 1950 census, but dropped in the following decades as residents settled in the suburbs. The population has rebounded since it bottomed out at about 370,000 in the 1980s.

Next Up


Winter weather advisory issued as Saturday snow arrives

Not huge totals expected, but any snow will likely impact travel.


Report: Ryan Poles is Vikings' 'top choice' for general manager

Poles was one of two finalists revealed on Friday.

Payton Willis

Willis carries shorthanded Gophers to beat Rutgers

The senior scored a career-high 32 points to end a four-game losing streak.


Charges: St. Paul man had sexual contact 'multiple times' with 12-year-old girl

Marcus Steichen, 21, is charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Screen Shot 2020-08-14 at 6.45.53 PM

Charges: Mom killed infant son just weeks after getting him back from foster care

The 10-month-old died in her care in Brooklyn Park last April.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Arrests made following fentanyl bust in St. Cloud

Authorities searched two St. Cloud apartments Friday morning.

potatoes 2

Minnesota's 'frozen potato freeway' closure attracts plenty of comment

It was, let's face it, a very Minnesotan reason for a freeway closure.

Screen Shot 2022-01-21 at 9.07.54 AM

U of M fraternity raises money for chef's knee surgery

The GoFundMe has raised around $1,700 of its $5,000 goal.

unsplash restaurant cashier register COVID face mask - crop

7 restaurant, bar groups sue Minneapolis over dining vaccine mandate

"Minneapolis bars and restaurants are being used as pawns..." the lawsuit said.

Screen Shot 2022-01-22 at 7.47.53 AM

Woman fatally shot in St. Paul's North End neighborhood

It's the fourth homicide so far this year in St. Paul.


Wild flip the script, dominate Blackhawks

Ryan Hartman scored twice to earn the first game of a back-to-back.

Hopkins Basketball

Hopkins suffers rare loss to No. 1 ranked Sidwell Friends

The Royals held their own in a battle of the nation's best.