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Will Transit Ridership Decline Mean End of Light Rail Boondoggles?

The Met Council's controversial $2 billion Southwest Light Rail Transit line still hangs on by a thread. So do proposed LRT lines in Nashville, San Antonio and Tampa, among other cities. At the same time, overall transit ridership continues to decline or even implode in many metro areas. The Cato transit expert who authored American Experiment's report on Twin Cities traffic congestion earlier this year, Randal O'Toole, emphasizes just how dramatic the drop-off has been in the Wall Street Journal. These proposals are questionable at best and reckless at worst, given that transit ridership—including bus and what little rail these regions have—is...

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Met Council Attempts to Explain Away OLA Audit Findings: Will the FTA Care?

For all I know, the FTA’s New Starts grant program tells applicants, “Lie to me, tell me what I want to hear so I can give you the billions in funds appropriated by Congress. Oh, and I am not going to require you to put away funds to replace the system when it wears out.” That would explain why the nation's transit system operates in the red, fails to relieve congestion and does not have the ridership it projected. How else did we get LRT in Minnesota?...

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OLA Jim Nobles Releases Critical Met Council Transit Audit: Legislative Leaders React

“Metropolitan Council staff told us they use one set of assumptions (based on historical state and local funding) when preparing their federal transportation financial plans, and different assumptions (based on current appropriations law) when preparing internal reports and information for the Minnesota Legislature.” OLA ...

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Read it and Grin: Minneapolis officials call for Environmental Review of SWLRT Crash Wall

Look on the bright side Minneapolis: the wall could be passed off as an expansion of the nearby Walker Art Museum’s Sculpture Garden. Think of the wall as a giant canvas. The Walker could provide spray paint to aspiring local artists to encourage self-expression, sponsoring an annual "We Love Our Wall" contest. Imagine how much the residents of Bryn Mawr will enjoy looking at their art. The Met Council could even save some bucks here; with all the graffiti, surely the train stations will not need any more “public art.”...

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Has Southwest Light Rail Hit a Speed Bump—or The Wall?

SWLRT has hit several walls: a structural operating deficit brought on by the Council favoring LRT expansion and bike lanes over a well-run bus system, a Legislature that has refused to fund SWLRT (though it gave one-time cash to help with the deficit), and The BNSF Wall. These and problems we do not know about have prevented the Council from requesting federal funds. Good. ...

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Will Met Council’s Secretive Deal Keep SWLRT Alive?

At least Americans were told upfront that candidate Trump planned to build a wall like it or not. But Minneapolis residents have found out the hard way about the Met Council's more than mile-long, 10-foot-high and 3-foot-wide concrete wall suddenly coming down the tracks as part of the controversial Southwest Light Rail Transit project. Met Council representatives quietly negotiated and agreed to build the wall as a condition for two railroad lines to share their right-of-way with the light rail line. Local politicians told the Southwest Journal they were left out of the loop for all practical purposes in the secretive...

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Fighting for the American Dream in D.C.

DFL Governor Mark Dayton’s plan, like many “blue state” governors, uses “transit oriented development” or TOD, to pull money out of the suburbs and greater Minnesota to fund and re-enforce a city centric power model. That model shifts how and where people live, and how they get around, to change the political landscape in favor of left-wing control of local and state government. ...

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Met Council Poker Game: buying train cars and condemning land for SWLRT

“In the Council’s mind, it’s like a high-stakes poker game. The Council is betting that by spending hundreds of millions of dollars, they can pressure Congress and the FTA into approving the projects. They talk as if it is a done deal, as if big talk and spending will make it so. But the federal grant program doesn't work that way.” Anoka County Commissioner Matt Look ...

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Met Council Holds Workshop on Climate-Caused Racism

It's no stretch to say the Met Council is on a mission to make race an issue in every conceivable aspect of local and regional government under its jurisdiction. But racial disparities due to global warming? That's the focus of the latest Met Council workshop being held in Minneapolis today for metro-wide city and county government workers being trained to be on the watch for climate-related racism in their communities. They [communities of color] frequently bear a disproportionate share of the burden of environmental degradation and are more vulnerable to climate change impact. This session will strengthen your community’s ability to prepare...

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