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Cold Snap Exposes Green Cars’ Power Problems

The cold snap continues to be the gift that keeps on giving by exposing the weaknesses and  dangerous implications of over-reliance on renewable energy sources. American Experiment policy fellow Isaac Orr recently summed up the risks revealed by the "brownout" that hit many Xcel Energy customers in the pages of the Star Tribune. This week’s bitter cold had the potential to be deadly. But thanks to reliable forms of energy like coal, natural gas and nuclear power, it wasn’t. Lawmakers considering doubling Minnesota’s renewable energy mandate to 50 percent by 2030 should use this week’s weather as a moment to reconsider their...

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I love my personal transportation vehicle

Today was a normal February day in Minnesota; it was about 10 degrees, with heavy drifting and blowing snow, and the roads had patches of ice left over from freezing rain on Sunday. We’ve had some variation on that wintry theme the last few weeks. We have all missed time at work, school and everyday to-dos. I have prudently chosen when and when not to drive. But I had things to do, places to be today, and I like driving in snow. So, I blew through the day (carefully) in this amazing thing called a car. It is made of steel, hard...

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Metro Transit: The most dangerous LRT system in America?

This post originally appeared at katana community on January 24, 2019. This last Friday you may have seen a story on KARE11 or KSTP about how a Metro Transit Light Rail Transit (LRT) driver killed Nicholas Westlake in July 2017 when the train's driver blew through a clear stop signal and broadsided Westlake's car.  Representative Linda Runbeck of Circle Pines is now introducing a bill in the Minnesota House that would allow criminal charges to be brought against LRT drivers in such situations, as state law currently disallows this.(!) I recommend you  watch the stories to get the full details. But the detail I want to...

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MN City Battles Feds and State to Close Small Airport

The city of Silver Bay can no longer afford the luxury of spending $35,000 a year maintaining a municipal airport. “I’ve got 20 some miles of 50-year old road,” Silver Bay Mayor Scott Johnson said. “Don’t you think I should spend some maintenance on that instead of the airport?” But neither can the small northeastern Minnesota city afford to close the deteriorating airfield, faced with the threat of $10,000 a day in fines by the Federal Aviation Administration and a bill for $760,000 in “free” government grants the feds and state want to claw back. “I think they’re (the FAA) is going to...

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Bigger Boondoggle, MNLARS or Kirk Cousins?

The Minnesota Licensing and Registration System (MNLARS) was supposed to be the future for our state. Instead of long lines, bad waiting room music, and having to take time off work to run to the DVS, MNLARS promised all of these functions could be easily, and affordably, be transferred over to an efficient, secure, online service. Unfortunately, it hasn't worked out that way. MNLARS has gotten better since its disastrous roll-out in 2017, but it is hard to argue the service is worth the $93 million already paid out for the program. What's worse, officials from the Dayton Administration estimated the additional...

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Southwest LRT funding has left the station: Will Trump Insist that Met Council Appointments Follow Federal Law?

Minnesota is now on track to spend $2.03 billion for about 15 miles of track. Note that you can add road lanes for about 10% of that cost. My theory has always been that Hennepin County voters think that someone else is going to take the LRT so they can drive with less congestion. When Southwest LRT fails to reduce congestion in the west metro, perhaps Minnesotans will choose more wisely at the polls. The construction phase of the LRT ought to provide plenty of down-time in traffic to think about it. Is there anything you can do to help? ...

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Public Safety Does It Again with Long Delays for Driver’s Licenses

Minnesota motorists can't get a break. The Dayton Administration's Department of Public Safety continues to struggle to salvage the disastrous roll-out of the motor and vehicle registration system that has rivaled the MNsure state health exchange  for technical malfeasance.  Nearly a year and a half later, the so-called MNLARS system remains tens of millions of dollars over budget and in dire need of expensive technical triage. Yet now comes word via the Star Tribune that many applicants for new driver's licences face their own frustrating delays in customer service for road tests and licenses. New driver Priscilla Thomas said the state told...

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