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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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Soucheray’s Close Call a Reminder of Light Rail Danger on Days Like This

Columnist and radio host Joe Soucheray has more than earned his stripes over the years as the staunchest opponent of the Twin Cities billion dollar light rail boondoggle. But now the Mayor of Garage Logic has issued a reminder that on slippery, snowy days like this, light rail can be perilous to more than your pocketbook. He ought to know, having recently come close to becoming a statistic himself, according to a recent Pioneer Press column. Remember the big snowfall a couple of Mondays back? I was trying to cross University Avenue at the light on Berry Street. Two drivers in front of me had gotten...

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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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Twin Cities Light Rail Projects May Be Dead

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has released its Annual Report on Funding Recommendations for the Fiscal Year 2019. The report describes the capital investment grants (CIG) program that states can apply to for federal matching funds. The FTA is not recommending funding for any projects in Minnesota. The projects that have applied for federal funds are Southwest LRT, Bottineau LRT, the Metro Orange Line bus rapid transit along 35W, and the Metro Gold Line bus rapid transit in St. Paul. The FTA is limiting funding to “projects with existing full funding grant agreements. For the remaining projects in the CIG program, FTA...

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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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