Four suburbs are betting big on light rail

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that the laments continue for those who believe roads are the only way. Albeit they are efficient and serve many, however where do we build them? Whats wrong with existing right of ways? I m sure the critics of LRT are the same people who would line up in eminent domain proceedings. Heck we expanded Hwy 100 and its still congested

posted by americanus on Nov. 30, 08 at 1:38 AM | 
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I would rather sit in traffic and listen to my own radio station and be alone in my car than cram into a sardine can. We arent New york and Chicago. I like my car and thats it!!!!!

posted by johnjsmith on Nov. 30, 08 at 2:46 AM | 
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I wonder if theses communities that will benefit would mind picking up the annual subsidy that will be needed to keep it running ?? Didn't think so. It really isn't fair that those of us who will never ride it have to pay for it.

posted by ORIOLE75 on Nov. 30, 08 at 5:58 AM | 
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This LRT line will never happen. There are too many people in this city who are still living in the 20th century. They think that gas will be cheap forever and they'll be able to drive alone in their SUVs until eternity. The Twin Cities are not getting any smaller; we have no choice but to make mass transit a big part of the picture.

posted by Starquest on Nov. 30, 08 at 12:08 PM | 
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It's about time!! These locations need light rail bad. There is so much factory work out along this proposed line that are in need of workers who can't get to the 'burbs. And, anything that helps reduce the traffic load to and from the southwest is forward thinking for a change. The only problem I forsee, is how the homes out in the Eden Prairie area which are upper-middle class in turms of value will stand for this. I say, heck with them. They knew long-ago light rail might indeed go near their exspensive homes. It's time we invest more in light rail and less on black top!!

posted by tjmm1234 on Nov. 30, 08 at 12:17 PM | 
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Couple points: To JohnJSmith: you are going to be free to continue to use your car if you wish. No one's going to take that away from you. In fact, putting in a train will likely make your commute have less traffic. To jollyroger: I'm not sure that preferring a train means I need to go to therapy. I like to be able to work or read on my way to work. I'm fairly certain that this preference would not be characterized as a mental disorder. As for the fact that you need to pay for it, everyone taking the train will also pay taxes to pay for roads. Roads do not magically appear, they also need tax money.

posted by jimcolquitt on Nov. 30, 08 at 1:00 PM | 
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Jimcolquitt is spot on. So according to Jolly the hundreds of millions worldwide who use trains are mentally unstable? Have you been outside the midwest? This is us being able to join the rest of the earth. insisting on being alone, investing in road expansion, and consuming ever more oil seems a little more questionable.

posted by acarrane on Nov. 30, 08 at 1:20 PM | 
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Taxes and Roads: Property taxes that every property owner contributes to although not very equally contribute only to local streets and some county routes. State Gas Tax dollars pay for a small portion of City routes as Municipal State Aid Streets (MSAS) and to County routes that are County State Aid Highway (CSAH) and to State & Federal Highway projects while Federal Gas Tax goes to State, County and City Federal Aid projects and the U.S. & Interstate Highway System. The Federal and State Gas Tax which comes out of the pockets of those whom drive licensed vehicles goes to pay for these projects and supports a portion of your Transit operations including your beloved LRT. Oh, lest I forget, some projects that State pushes ahead with Bonds enable projects to move ahead like Hwy 100 from 394 to 694, I-94 from 494 to 694 Maple Grove to Brooklyn Park, I-494 from 394 down to Hwy 100 along with others. Problem then is these bonds have to get paid back, mostly through Gas Taxes collected which then cut down on what they can build or fund in the future unless of course our legislative leaders set the bonds up to be paid back through the general fund which is a rare occurence which would take funds from everyone, especially the High Income Earners considering the top 10% income bracket pays approx 90% of all taxes while the bottom 50% income bracket pay less than 5% of all taxes.

posted by journalistjd on Nov. 30, 08 at 1:38 PM | 
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Do you really mean income tax? "the top 10% income bracket pays approx 90% of ALL TAXES while the bottom 50% income bracket pay less than 5% of ALL TAXES". Do the bottom 50% rake in 50% of the income?

posted by joeeeeee on Nov. 30, 08 at 2:36 PM | 
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Typically in the US, 2/3 to 3/4th of light rail riders were already taking transit. The SW corridor people could release their numbers for this corridor. Since they haven't, we'll make due for the general rule of thumb for the US. The SW corridor line projects that it'll at best have @28,000 riders per day two decades from now. Let's just say somehow they goofed in the right direction and they have 28,000 riders per day in 2015 when it opens. That would be about 14,000 people taking it each day. That means about 9500 of those people were already taking transit. So you'd be looking at spending a billion dollars up front plus ongoing operational costs to get @4,000 cars off the road each day. Now of course with a billion dollars we could just beef up Hwy 7 with an HOV lane in each direction and reduce congestion just as much. Heck, for a billion we could beef it up with 2 HOV lanes in each direction, fancy transit stations, operate BRT on it, turning it into the transit-oriented higway in the nation and still have enough money leftover to build the MN 77 transit way that would serve another 20-25k riders per day. We could do that but unfortunately these days there is a group of people who insist if it's not a train, it's not transit. They insist that despite the numbers the "best" thing that can be done is to sink billions of dollars into trains that largely shift people off of buses and onto trains (and a couple folks do get out of their cars). It's a shame to see this happening when arguably more good could be done with the same money.

posted by stmp692 on Nov. 30, 08 at 3:01 PM | 
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