Latest Posts





Traffic Congestion Report Stirs Up Controversy

Billboard 35W & 494American Experiment’s report on the misguided government policies driving the Twin Cities traffic congestion crisis apparently hit a nerve at the metro area’s biggest Chambers of Commerce.  The Minneapolis and St. Paul Chambers struck back in a Star Tribune op-ed, Counterpoint: In the Twin Cities area, transit is needed and wanted–and it works.

Forty people going to work on transit are 40 fewer cars in front of you. That’s the physical fact. And a place with poor transit is a less attractive place to live, work and do business. That’s the business fact.

But big business has long supported spending billions on light rail lines that move a relatively miniscule amount of commuters for obvious reasons.  Development mogul Kelly Doran, for example, has invested more than $50 million in housing along the proposed Southwest Light Rail Transit line in Hopkins.

Forty percent of all workers in downtown Minneapolis use transit. Eighty percent of all people using transit in the Twin Cities are commuting to work or school. No study has ever found that reducing our transit options and putting thousands more cars on our roads would improve traffic congestion. People understand that. Poll after poll finds that people want more transit.

Business leaders also want more transit, because we understand that we need it, and it works.

Of course, the Center never suggested doing away with transit, just doing it smarter. A balanced approach that reflects the realities of how people get where they’re going.

Yet the Chambers left out the numbers that matter most to the bottom line of their members and overwhelming number of employees who commute to work.

Our report reveals that the cost of wasted time, wasted fuel and increased pollution from commuters, delivery drivers and other stuck in traffic totals nearly $4 billion a year.

That means in just one year, lost productivity and increased costs from congestion outstrip the supposed $2 billion to $5 billion in “net benefits from completing the transit system” and unspecified “high rate of return” loosely referred to in the Chambers’ op-ed.

The Chambers gloss over another inconvenient fact. Just six percent of Twin Cities commuters choose transit to get to work, while ninety percent of metro commuters depend on driving.

Yet the Met Council’s long-range plan–supported by the Chamber–calls for spending 83 percent of state and regional capital funds on expanding transit, while only eight percent of capital funds would be spent on road-related infrastructure.

It doesn’t seem to bother the business group that the lopsided imbalance in transportation spending only dooms Twin Cities commuters who work for their member companies to even more than the current 47 hours per year tied up in traffic.

But most cluelessly of all, the authors argue the Twin Cities worsening traffic congestion is a good thing, even a sign of success. In their world, congestion means more people prefer living in the Twin Cities than comparable cities like Indianapolis and Kansas City with more lane miles and less congestion. Never mind that Indianapolis has been growing twice as fast as the Twin Cities.

The CAE [Center of the American Experiment] wants us to be more like Kansas City, where you can drive around at high speed. There’s a reason Kansas City highways are empty: It’s not as attractive as we are, so its economy is weaker.

The authors may not be so smug if they were to reflect on the fact Minnesota loses population on net to other states year in and year out. Perhaps the worsening traffic congestion predicted down the road will slow some of them down.




Upcoming Events

  • YLC Curling Event

    Location: Chaska Curling Center 3210 Chaska Blvd, Chaska, MN 55318

    Grab your broom and stone and join the Young Leadership Council for an evening of Curling at the Chaska Curling Center! $40 registration includes: Instruction Ice time and equipment Appetizers (Curling Center Bar will be available to purchase drinks) The event will begin with 15-20 minutes of classroom instruction on curling rules and basics followed by 20-30 minutes on the ice for practice and drills. Instructors will be on hand the whole evening to guide your games. Dress Code: Bring a pair of clean-on-the-bottom shoes to change into. No leather soles or metal lace hooks Loose fitting or strechy clothes…

    Register Now
  • The Diversity Delusion

    Location: Hilton Minneapolis 1001 South Marquette Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55403

    Please join Center of the American Experiment on Wednesday, April 24th at the Hilton Hotel for a lunch forum with Heather Mac Donald as she discusses her new book, The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture.  Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a contributing editor of City Journal, and a New York Times bestselling author. She is a recipient of the 2005 Bradley Prize. Mac Donald’s work at City Journal has covered a range of topics, including higher education, immigration, policing, homelessness and homeless advocacy, criminal-justice reform, and race…

    Register Now
  • 2019 Annual Dinner Featuring Nigel Farage

    Location: Hilton Minneapolis 1001 South Marquette Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55403

    Purchase Tickets Here

    Register Now