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Should MN amend the constitution (again) to get dedicated funds for roads?

Lawmakers are frustrated. They cannot get enough funding for roads. Why? MnDOT has been captured by the “multi-model” approach to mobility championed by the Metropolitan Council, our mega regional planning and transit planner, owner, operator and funder (it levies taxes). They are Met Council Multi-Model Moonies at MnDOT. ...

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The Met Council: The least safe light rail operator of its peers. Do we really want LRT to co-locate with freight?

In light of the most recent developments, legislators and others are asking, is the Met Council even qualified to safely operate both freight and passenger light rail trains adjacent to each other? The data suggest the answer is no. What more evidence do we need to #StoptheRunawayTrain? ...

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Dayton’s MnDOT testifies that it cannot prioritize mobility or reduce congestion in Metro area

I testified in the House Transportation Policy committee in favor of an idea that is long overdue: requiring MnDOT to revise the 20-year plan to prioritize mobility and relieve congestion. After my testimony on our growing congestion, a representative from MnDOT testified that the agency could not do that. Time for a change in leadership? ...

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BNSF Steps Up Investment: $810 Million To Get Minnesota’s Products to World Markets

Minnesota serves as a crucial link between the Pacific Northwest and Chicago; BNSF moves more than 140,000 carloads of Minnesota corn, wheat, soybeans and other agricultural products, as well as large quantities of timber and paper products to both global and domestic markets. BNSF says it has invested about $810 million over the past five years to expand and maintain its network in Minnesota. The Met Council wants to co-locate passenger rail next to freights lines. Is that safe or good for freight? ...

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Can Congress Over-Ride FTA Recommendation Against Funding Light Rail and Bus Rapid Transit? Maybe.

It is possible that our two U.S. Senators and perhaps other members of the delegation, will prevail on the president and the FTA to make these transit projects happen. But Congress must first pass appropriations bills to get the money flowing and spent. If the FTA does not want to approve a project, it has the power to ignore Congress. Got it? ...

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Reading the Federal Tea Leaves: No Funds for Light Rail Expansion?

According to the Wall Street Journal yesterday, Trump wants to "save more than $1.4 billion by eliminating the Federal Transit Administration’s New Start's program, though it would permit projects that already have signed agreements to be funded through those grants to proceed." This has been the President’s position since he came into office. Neither of the Met Council's New Start’s projects, Southwest or Bottineau LRT, have signed agreements with the FTA. ...

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Light Rail Expansion Comes to Screeching Halt: BNSF Says No To Met Council

The Met Council got some very bad news. A freight line, BNSF, told the Met Council that it did not want to co-locate its freight line with the proposed 13-mile light rail expansion called Bottineau. And while the Met Council put a happy face on this bad news, and elected officials who want the LRT expansion suggested that BNSF was just engaged in hard-knuckle negotiations, it does not sound like BNSF is still at the negotiating table. You be the judge. ...

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Just Say No: Increase in Gas Tax Would Fuel More Congestion, Reward Bad Policy

The Center joined a national coalition of policy organizations in the letter below which will be sent to Congress next week. Given the terrible congestion in the metro area, and the pot holes in our roads, some might argue that raising the gas tax is a good idea. The problem is the policies that gave us terrible congestion would not change with more gas tax money; more gas tax money would just “fuel” those bad policies. ...

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Met Council: If it is such a great regional model, why is it the only one after 50 years?

Mondale has thrown down the legislative gauntlet, again. While annoying and not correct that the Council is acting under actual authority, he is correct that the legislature created the creature that is the Council and the legislature must take it out, breaking it up into its constituent parts and spinning them off where they can do more good and no harm. Will the 2018 Legislature take him up the dare? ...

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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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