Editorial: The business case for transit dollars

  • Article by: EDITORIAL BOARD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 9, 2012 - 5:01 PM

A new Itasca study confirms the need for and return on transit.

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FrankLDec. 9, 12 8:19 PM

Fund it you do the same way air transport is funded, by ticket taxes instead of stealing from the road funds.

merkinDec. 9, 12 9:32 PM

A modest tax would fund the system, which is what they do in ultra liberal...Texas. Dallas/Fort Worth has the largest light rail system in the states because of it.

mn2niceDec. 9, 1211:00 PM

I would give the Met Council and MetroTransit the ability to issue their own bonds, and I would add in to the price of gas in the 7-county Metro area a transit tax of 1% to the price of gas per gallon to help fund it. And those funds could only be used for transit; not for roads. I would also give other transit agencies around the state the same ability to fund their transit programs. Otherwise, transit becomes a political football for the legislature that gets kicked around while we lose our competitiveness with other states. The FTA has consistently shown a willingness to fund new starts and expansion of existing systems in metropolitan areas where the addition of rail transit has been successful. The success of the Hiawatha Light Rail Transit line has put us in perfect position to continue to receive transit dollars in the future. In a study performed by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute earlier this year, they found that cities with large, well-established rail systems have significantly higher per capita transit ridership, lower average per capita vehicle ownership and annual mileage, less traffic congestion, lower traffic death rates, lower consumer expenditures on transportation, and higher transit service cost recovery than otherwise comparable cities with less or no rail transit service. Source: "Rail Transit in America: A Comprehensive Evaluation of Benefits," 16 January 2012; Victoria Transport Policy Institute. www.vtpi.org. I eagerly await the public release of the Itasca Project Study.

twincitizen1Dec. 10, 12 1:10 AM

I fully agree with the need for further investment in transit, but maaaaybe you should've gone with a photo of our uber-successful light rail or a new hybrid bus (built in MN!) over everyone's favorite whipping boy, the unloved Northstar Line. Our number one priority should be improving urban corridor bus service to be faster, with fewer stops, and have the amenities of LRT stations. Why not invest in transit improvements in dense areas where it is already successful and people can actually have a shot at living car-free over building billion dollar lines out to the car-dependent suburbs? (I'm looking at you Southwest and Bottineau) I'm not opposed to those lines being built, but for half the cost of a light rail line we could add the same number of riders on Metro Transit's planned arterial BRT network aka Rapid Bus.

arspartzDec. 10, 12 1:47 AM

a transit tax of 1% to the price of gas per gallon to help fund it. And those funds could only be used for transit;

Why should the people using the roads be forced to pay for the choo choo? That makes as much sense as making train tickets pay for highway repairs.. Raise the fare on transit to make it pay for itself. Before you ask, yes, I support raising the gas tax to the point where it supports the roads. However, this tax is levied on every vehicle on the road: transit bus, school bus, not for profit leased car... Nobody drives for free.

stplooklistnDec. 10, 12 5:43 AM

It seems that all studies, on any subject, always end up with the same conclusion. Spend money on this project.

melloncollieDec. 10, 12 6:53 AM

99% of us will never ride the train or light rail. You want it - you pay for it.

melloncollieDec. 10, 12 6:55 AM

Everyone with a cell phone is already paying for trains and light rail. Check your bill and you will see a transit tax listed. This is another obscene way that politicians steal our money and most people have no idea it is being done. The last thing politicians need is more of our money.

northhillDec. 10, 12 9:06 AM

The Twin Cities will stagnate economically in the 21st century because of Minnesota's feeling about mass transit.Why do we continue to tolerate freeway gridlock.Dallas Ft Worth has said enough,so has Denver, Seattle and Portland.Mass transit is the future,building more freeways is so 1970's when gas cost less than a buck a gallon.Building freeways wasn't cheap either.

hitch22Dec. 10, 12 9:16 AM

30,000 full time jobs... 30,000 full time jobs? PLEASE DEFINE THIS TERM!!!! The one thing about these studies that drives me absolutely nuts is that they never, ever define what they are calling a "job". There is literally no way that 30,000 people will be working from start to finish on any state transportation project. Yet when you say 30,000 full time jobs created during the construction phase that is what you are implying. Just once I want to see an economic impact study that wasn't trying to con the public into thinking that whatever they are advocating is going to create more jobs than it actually will. The Vikings did the same thing in the stadium debate claim tens of thousands of jobs will be created. It's non-sense, and it is sad that people are facing the same lobby of misinformation when it comes to public transit.


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