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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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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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Bike Lane Backlash Spreads to Businesses in Duluth

The campaign to drive more cars off our streets by converting vehicle lanes to bike ways has taken off in Duluth. A community group has decided the parking on one side of a mile and a half strip of road lined with businesses should be replaced by a bike lane this summer, according to the Duluth paper. The bike lane, proposed by Places for People — a Zeitgeist Arts "campaign in the Hillside to engage residents and entities around better street design that prioritizes people, not just motor vehicles" — would, if approved, stretch 1.5 miles along East Ninth and Eighth...

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