Light Rail Transit is a Foolish Investment
If you build it, they will come, or so the saying goes. But will they come to ride a system that is last-century’s technology?
The Southwest Light Rail Transit (LRT) project is an example of public transit that is more a relic of the past than the wave of the future. Spending billions of dollars to construct an outdated system is ridiculous.
But Met Council Chair Adam Duininck wants to continue “full steam ahead” with the light rail project despite his pledge in 2015 to not proceed without legislative approval.
And not all legislators are on board. Those opposed to the light rail expansion see it as a misuse of money that could be spent on projects benefiting more Minnesotans.
Taxpayer dollars should be invested in transportation systems that aren’t quickly becoming obsolete technology. Bus and train ridership in 2011 was around 85 million, comparable to the number of bus and train passengers in 2015. The following year, Metro Transit saw a decline in passengers on trains and buses and partly blamed it on low gas prices.
Which tells us one thing: the car is still king. People prefer to drive cars when they can afford to do so. And with technology advancing to self-driving cars, light rail transit won’t be able to keep up.
Good transit goes beyond light rail. So let’s focus on making transportation more efficient without spending a billion dollars on a system that will soon join the dinosaurs.