Friday, August 17, 2007

That giant sucking sound

"Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists of choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable." —John Kenneth Galbraith

With Governor Pawlenty opening the door to light rail on the I-35W bridge replacement, and a gas tax increase to pay for it, the affair is already teetering between the disastrous and the unpalatable.

To paraphrase Ross Perot, that giant sucking sound you hear is more money being vacuumed from your wallet. From the Taxpayers League of Minnesota:
As [Taxpayers League of Minnesota president] Phil Krinkie said on MPR on Wednesday, what will fastracking Northstar [commuter rail between Saint Cloud and Minneapolis] — which is projected to handle 5000 trips a day — do to relieve congestion on a bridge that carried upwards of 200,000 vehicles a day? And, with subsidies for Northstar projected to run anywhere from $5-$7 per rider (on the low end) to $15-$18 per rider (on the high end), where will future transportation spending be focused? Not where we need it, that’s for sure.

If you really want to talk about transit subsidies here’s another number for you to throw at your neighbor the next time he opines as to where our priorities should be: per Minnesota state statute, Metro Transit must achieve of farebox recovery rate of between 33-34%. So every dollar a bus or train rider puts in the till, $2 is coming out of your pocket. Pretty slick how that works, huh?

Are any of our elected officials planning on standing up for the automobile commuter, freight carriers, and taxpayers against these runaway trains?

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