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Location should matter as companies consider expansion.
Your sound-bite comments are far from heavy-handed...they are not even compelling. Your advocacy of Light Rail is full of holes just as it has always been. I have not seen any studies that provide evidence of your "opens up space on the freeways" comment for just-in-time deliveries. I suspect that people avoid places where there are transit hubs because of the traffic. I know that we do. There are lots of ways to be green that are less expensive than Light Rail. Once again, your analysis for more government investment spending is done without regard to the resources available. With infinite resources (a core assumption for the ideology of the Left), any positive investment returns justify the investment. For example, most people agree that a K-12 education is a good investment at today’s prices or even higher prices, but we all want more value out of the investment than we are getting. Why is that? Despite a positive return on investment, we are failing to meet the needs of our kids. For purposes of argument, let us say we are getting a 5% return on our education dollar…given the human capital aspect of this investment, we expect 25% or more. In the same way, one can torture the Light Rail Benefit analysis until it turns positive, but the opportunity costs continue to be ignored. We will spend all this money and learn far too late that the analysis was flawed.
It's funny, we keep hearing from the promoters of these projects (including the Strib editorial board), that they will be magnets for development. But when it comes down do it, the Met Council feels compelled to keep shoveling subsidies at developers in order to lure them away from more attractive and preferred sites. Actions speak louder than words. Businesses do know what location is best for them and their employees, and the fact that locating near a transit station is not at the top of their wish list speaks volumes. As far as being heavy-handed, well, central planning always comes across as heavy-handed.
Moreover, I don't think the Twins and Vikings count as private investment near transit stations, considering the taxpayers payed for the bulk of both facilities. The reason these teams located their stadiums where they did is by now obvious: That is where they would be able to secure the most lavish subsidy package. Good for them, bad for the rest of us.
Years ago, the Star Tribune ran a tape on the true cost to build the Metrodome, ostensibly built for $55 million. As I recall, it was over $85 million via various "other" funding sources. It's time the Star Tribune did the same for light rail and then factor that into the true cost per passenger mile. Also add in the increased policing costs and the displaced bus fares and other opportunity costs (like the displaced private taxi/shuttle airport services). Also don't forget the extensive and expensive track rebuild we'll need in 30 years or so.
Truth is, Light Rail is very expensive per passenger mile, much more than buses. And it probably isn't green either when you add in the tremendous energy used to build the line and forge the materials.
All valid points made by the editor. However, how far would you expect someone to walk in the dead of winter? Unless the business or apartments are within a parking-lot distance from a light-rail station, not gonna sway many riders. Were the subsidies to build next to light-rail discussed in the approval process???
Light Rail is like a Prius, cheap to drive on a Tuesday, very expensive to own over the life of the equipment (and railbed).
garagewine, you claim the Met Council must give these grants "in order to lure them away from more attractive and preferred sites." But if you'd take a look at the size of the projects and then look at the size of the grants, you would see that these funds are only a very small portion of the overall project cost. That amount of money isn't "luring" the projects - it's the TRANSIT that is luring the projects. Change is hard, but it's all that keeps us alive.
davehoug, building housing right at transit stations is exactly the point. Nobody wants to walk a half mile in howling winter winds - but these projects are all closer than that to the transit station.
"But if you'd take a look at the size of the projects and then look at the size of the grants, you would see that these funds are only a very small portion of the overall project cost. That amount of money isn't "luring" the projects - it's the TRANSIT that is luring the projects."----Then why are the subsidies necessary?
Government seems to think it's the solution to all our problems when in fact it's the cause.
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