State transportation plans draw interest in Washington County

  • Article by: JIM ANDERSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 4, 2013 - 6:00 PM

Washington County has several transit projects underway.

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Willy53Jan. 6, 13 8:00 AM

No surprise here. The East metro has lagged behind all of the other counties in support of metropolitan transit systems. Now, when those systems are being built we will be the last to receive them. You can thank our unwise local representatives that contantly voted against funding LRT and increasing BART. Now when it is obvious we need to get on board and reasonable taxing methods for funding are availabe, Surprise!, more legislators don't want to pay the price and actually make the investment that will return benefits over the long run to the county. This situation has to change. Somehow those same Washington County commissioners and legislators in their wisdom saw the need for 1 billion dollars in building the mega bridge over the St. Croix to nowhere and upgrading 36 to handle the traffic from increased urban sprawl, but when it comes to invoking 21st century and sustainable modes of transport they won't raise taxes one penny. So instead of multi transit options in Washington Coutny, we have upgraded one highway that will never outrace congestion and built a 700 million dollar bridge where one half as expensive would have been entirely adequate. Now it is time to hold those legislators that wasted all that money on the bridge responsible for telling how they will actually help their own counties cope with 21st century transportation needs. The Bridge, a behemouth route to New Richmond, does absolutely nothing for that.

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Willy53Jan. 6, 13 8:03 AM

Oh, one more thing. You are now beginning to see how much of a budget hog this new bridge will be and the negative impact that lack of money on east metro (particularly Washington County)transportation will precipitate.

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FrankLJan. 6, 13 2:15 PM

Why not follow the air travel model? Place a tax on every bus ticket to finance new improvements. The users should be funding adding new service, that is how the airports work.

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Willy53Jan. 7, 13 6:14 AM

So Frank, does that mean the new monster bridge over the St. Croix should be a toll bridge, being paid for by the Wisconsites that are the beneficiaries of it? Also remember certain modes of transportation have different impacts on public health, congestion and ultlimate costs to the public. Mass transit has many benefits such as reducing congestion, reducing carbon emissions, reducing smog related diseases, etc. How does taxing a public bus system work? Do you fund it, build it and then tax yourself just to create paper work. The best way forward would have been for MNDOT to follow it's own 50 year plan and not create another major corridor in HW 36 when they didn't have to. It will hog the transportation dollars in the East Metro for years to come by the upgrades required on HW36 to make the mega bridge a solution instead of a huge infrastructure simply creating more of a problem(which is just what it will do in encouraging sprawl). Raising the gas tax makes since because no other mode of transportation exerts more stress on the public's transportation dollar over the long run. Those are just facts if you care to face them.

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FrankLJan. 7, 13 9:53 AM

Wlly53, I am all for raising the gas tax if it is used for the roads. You put a tax on each bus ticket for the expressed purpose of building new facilities just like MSP has a tax on each ticket to build expansions of the terminal. The buses already use the roads for free (they don't pay gas tax), thus the least the bus users can do is pay for their own ride. As far as the St Croix bridge goes, I was in favor of the smaller design but that was vetoed by Stillwater. Sitting at the light yesterday, of the 7 vehicles coming across the bridge, 4 had MN plates.

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mattcbrJan. 8, 1312:58 AM

+1 to FrankL If these nearly free rides are such a great idea than why aren't riders (across the country) willing to pay more than about $3 a ride? Government and nanny state democrats are always out there to solve a problem that doesn't exist in exchange for votes. They promised the riders would fund more of the cost and the 25 cent tax was temporary... lol, it's too late now. The truth about this white elephant is out... non-riders get a 200% tax increase... "for the greater good." Seriously, if these trains and buses are such a great idea... let them fund it. Would you want your car to be taxed so I could ride a tax payer funded zip-line to work? It's green, provides jobs to zip-line workers, and it takes congestion off the roads:)

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