Dayton, Legislature should seize transit breakthrough

  • Article by: Star Tribune Editorial
  • Updated: May 11, 2013 - 3:05 PM

Region risks being left further behind competitors.

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Willy53May. 12, 13 5:47 AM

One more way this investment pays dividends to taxpayers. LRT lines generate tremendous private investment in real estate, builidng, small business startups and expansions that mean tax revenue from all this business activity. It is just such a win/win investment, the resistance by Republican legislators for so long has finally been overcome by the collective realization that our overburdened, undermaintained Highway centered 20th century poorly planned transportation mode is entirely inadequate to the demands of a 21st century economy.

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pitythetoolsMay. 12, 13 7:05 AM

"this investment pays dividends to taxpayers" --- Dividends indicate a positive return on investment. There has not been and most likely never will be a return on investment from light rail and the numbers prove it.

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greg62May. 12, 13 7:08 AM

We need to widen the 494/694 loop to at least 3 lanes everywhere before another dime is spent on rail. Thousands of Minnesotan's waste time in congestion and burn more fuel every day at places like 494 near Hwy 55 where traffic comes to a screening halt where 3 lanes merge to 2. This needs to be fixed before wasting more money on things like the North Star line which appears to be only about 5% full at most everytime I see it go by.

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greg62May. 12, 13 7:41 AM

"There has not been and most likely never will be a return on investment from light rail and the numbers prove it."_____ Exactly! The costs far outweigh the benefits. Now widening the 494/694 loop to at least 3 lanes everywhere would be money wisely spent, but that isn't even on the table. Why not?

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pitythetoolsMay. 12, 13 8:04 AM

greg62 - My opinion is that they will not widen certain sections of 494/694 to purposely cause congestion. They are then able to demonstrate why we need light rail. Or, it could be that the western edge of Hennepin county has more conservatives and the DFL wants to play games with us.

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greg62May. 12, 13 8:49 AM

"greg62 - My opinion is that they will not widen certain sections of 494/694 to purposely cause congestion. They are then able to demonstrate why we need light rail. Or, it could be that the western edge of Hennepin county has more conservatives and the DFL wants to play games with us."_______ Great points PitytheTools, in any case liberals are trying to punish us, not sure it's for daring to live somewhere else besided the crime ridden democrat run inner city, because we tend to vote conservative in the suburbs and rural areas, or because we drive automobiles. I say vote them out for this if nothing else.

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tgcloughMay. 12, 13 9:57 AM

@greg62 & pitythetools: Before you start in saying that there isn't a return on investment you need to understand what ROI really is. It IS NOT simply Fare Box Revenue less the cost of building and operation. You need to look at the cost savings of taxpayers in reduced congestion and thus fuel savings, the benefits derived by business by having a complete transportation system, the ability of people without cars to reach employment centers, the reduction of pollution and its related savings on medical care. I'm not saying that I have those figures BUT they need to be included in figuring ROI. With over 25 years as a controller of a manufacturing firm I can firmly say that it we only looked at the cost of a piece of equipment to produce a product and the resulting sales income of that product, we would have never purchased the millions of dollars of equipment that we did. We needed to look at our ability to service our customers, the labor savings we achieved, the expanded market we could now serve and many other benefits the new equipment provided to our firm. Lastly, don't think that highways are fully paid for by gas taxes. They are built using the same type of analysis as ROI for other modes of transportation.

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FrankLMay. 12, 13 1:33 PM

tgclough, the problem is the way MTC runs the transit system, it should be designed to move commuters, not be the local jitney service. The perfect example is the current LRT, it stops too often! Rail is perfect for moving a lot of people quickly, but not the way MTC runs it. Hiawatha should close half the stops, and let it run faster. Same thing for buses. Have people come the bus for an express ride instead of having buses meandering through neighborhoods.

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greg62May. 12, 13 4:21 PM

"You need to look at the cost savings of taxpayers in reduced congestion and thus fuel savings"______ Neither light rail or the North Star line have helped the congestion on 494 near Hwy 55 one bit. We could have fix this for an extremely small fraction of what we wated on rail, but the left making decisions won't do what is REALLY needed.

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greg62May. 12, 13 4:24 PM

They need to start checking to make sure people are paying to ride light rail, I'll bet half of them don't. They are probably afraid to even ask many of the riders.

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