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St. Paul City Council Unanimously Opposes Adding Lanes to Relieve I-94 Congestion

A January 2020 Met Council report warned that “investments that address Twin Cities congestion are of statewide importance and warrant attention.” So why is the St. Paul City Council trying to put the brakes on the most obvious way to not only improve congestion on I-94, but the economy and personal lives of commuters in the process?...

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Few Riders But Lots of Tax Subsidies for Public Transit Agencies

During the pandemic, passengers have avoided public transit like the plague with Metro Transit suffering a 60 percent loss in ridership alone. It's hard to blame the public considering the harsh rhetoric and restrictions on many Minnesotans' employment and movements in the last year under Gov. Tim Walz's shutdowns. Local transit authorities have not only lost ridership but millions of dollars in revenue.  Yet public transit continues rolling along for the most part, cushioned from significant cuts by ever greater public subsidies.  The Met Council, for example, plans to reroute millions of dollars in federal coronavirus aid so Metro Transit can...

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Push for 20 MPH Speed Limit Runs into Opposition in Rochester

Better give yourself extra time if you plan on going to grandmother’s house in Minneapolis for Thanksgiving this year. A new 20 mile per hour speed limit has taken effect on most city streets with St. Paul poised to do the same early next year. City planners sell the slowdown as a safety measure, although it’s clearly part of a relentless drive to phase out cars in favor of bikes, walking and public transit to fight climate change. But outside the Twin Cities the politically correct cut in speed appears to be running into a roadblock. A proposal to cut  the limit...

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Minneapolis to Reduce Traffic Lanes and Parking on Hennepin Ave. in Uptown

Minneapolis remains a no-go zone for many due to an epidemic of car jackings, outbreak of shootings and other violent crime and overall threat to their personal safety. But just in case that’s not enough to keep you at bay, city planners are drawing up more ways to make driving just as onerous for those who do take their chances. The city’s latest offensive on motorists takes aim at one of the busiest commercial corridors in Uptown Minneapolis, according to the Southwest Journal. Hennepin Avenue in Uptown is a busy street, used daily by between 770-3,400 pedestrians, 220-280 cyclists, 6,600 transit riders...

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Lawmakers Stiff Second Chicago to Twin Cities Amtrak Train in Bonding Bill

It says a lot when a pet project backed by well-connected lobbyists fails to make the cut in the $1.9 billion bonding bill passed by the Minnesota Legislature filled with lots of other goodies for special interests. Nevertheless that’s what happened to the passenger rail group promoting yet another Amtrak train for taxpayers to subsidize along with the perpetually late arriving Empire Builder line at Union Depot in St. Paul. Supporters claim 124,000 riders will take the proposed train annually, roughly the number of passengers that historically board the existing train.  But their timing couldn't have been worse  with the Empire Builder...

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Electric Busses Failing Duluth Test Drive

Duluth was only too happy to serve as the testing grounds for an Obama-era grant to prove that emissions-free electric busses were the way to go in the era of global warming. It mattered not that the seven vehicles manufactured by an east coast company called Proterra cost almost twice as much as each of the 70 or so diesel busses already in the city's fleet. But John Ramos of the Duluth Monitor reports it's been an uphill battle from the start of service nearly two years ago for the new-age busses. Two months after their unveiling, all seven buses were pulled...

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Northstar Commuter Train Ridership Plummets 95 Percent

The Northstar commuter rail line never has lived up to ridership expectations. It's always been a huge loser for taxpayers, who have heavily subsidized every ride taken on the train, including more than $19 for each ticket sold last year. But since the pandemic hit six months ago, Northstar ridership has declined to a mere trickle, tripling the per passenger subsidy this year. The number of riders has plummeted to the point where some elected officials wonder out loud whether it should continue to operate, according to a Star Tribune update. But ridership on Northstar, a commuter train that connects downtown Minneapolis...

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Northstar train extension likely derailed by COVID budget woes

The last time cheerleaders for the Northstar commuter train made a move to extend the massively subsidized line beyond Big Lake to St. Cloud, the 2008 Great Recession doomed their pet project. Taxpayers can only hope the new state budget realities caused by COVID-19 lead to the same result as special interest groups unveil the first big study in years proposing to extend both the line and the financial burden on Minnesotans, who already subsidize roughly 80 percent of the cost of each Northstar passenger's ticket, around $20 per ride. Moreover, the construction costs associated with building out the line would be...

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Department of Vehicles Services in Hot Water Again for Late License Tabs

The more things change, the more they remain the same at the Minnesota Department of Vehicle Services. Once again the DMV has failed to provide one of the most basic services Minnesotans rely on state government for in a timely manner. As a result, thousands of residents who've paid for their license tab renewal stickers have been left hanging, according to the Star Tribune. Mike McClure mailed his license tab renewal form and fee to the Minnesota Department of Vehicle Services (DVS) in mid-May and expected to have new stickers before his current tabs expired May 31. His check was cashed, but...

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Minnesotans Don’t Want California Car Mandates, Even If the Natural Resources Defense Council Does

On April 16, 2020 the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) wrote an article entitled "Minnesotans Want Clean Cars: The Oil Industry, Not So Much." The article, which mentions Center of the American Experiment by name, was meant to be a defense of Governor Walz's attempt to force Minnesotans to obey California car mandates for low emissions vehicles and zero emissions vehicles. However, the NRDC article made several easily-refutable claims that merit correcting, and these claims will be discussed below. In reality, American Experiment's polling has found that California's car regulations are deeply unpopular in Minnesota because the vast majority of Minnesotans...

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