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Listen to Kevin Terrell on KTLK: the latest on SWLRT and chances for Met Council Reform

Kevin Terrell, our Adjunct Fellow, appeared on Wednesday, November 29th with Justice and Drew on KTLK AM1130 to discuss the Met Council’s governance structure and needed reforms. Kevin has been working closely with Kim Crockett to educate lawmakers and the public on the folly of LRT for the metro, to make the case for reform of the Met Council. ...

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Key Legislators Make the Bipartisan Case for met Council Reform, Again

Distrust of the council arises from a governance structure that allows this unelected body to exercise power over 3.5 million metro residents with little to no accountability. The council, reporting only to the governor, now controls all federal and state resources for metro transportation, transit, subsidized housing, water treatment, parks and airports. ...

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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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Free Bridge Up For Grabs From MnDOT

If you’ve burned too many bridges over the years, don’t fret. The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) can get you half a bridge back—for free. MnDOT is giving away its half of the historic Rainy River International Bridge (the other half belongs to Canada) as it is scheduled to be replaced with a new adjacent bridge beginning spring 2018 due to structural concerns. ...

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Study Derails Edina Commuter Rail Line

Never say never when it comes to another government study. Especially when it involves a pet project like a new commuter rail line in a recent Star Tribune report. But one Edina City Councilor came pretty close, reacting to a costly draft study on the viability of a passenger rail line proposed for the Dan Patch corridor paralleling Highway 100. City staffers and St. Paul-based consultants Kimley-Horn recommended that the council stop looking at rail possibilities in the corridor for the time being, a move strongly backed by Council Member Bob Stewart. Stewart called the city’s efforts to study passenger rail options along the...

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Met Council Attempts to Explain Away OLA Audit Findings: Will the FTA Care?

For all I know, the FTA’s New Starts grant program tells applicants, “Lie to me, tell me what I want to hear so I can give you the billions in funds appropriated by Congress. Oh, and I am not going to require you to put away funds to replace the system when it wears out.” That would explain why the nation's transit system operates in the red, fails to relieve congestion and does not have the ridership it projected. How else did we get LRT in Minnesota?...

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Twin Cities Traffic Congestion Is Worse Than Ever

Yesterday's Star Tribune headlined: "Solutions sought with Twin Cities traffic at its most congested since 1993." The Minnesota Department of Transportation released its annual Twin Cities congestion report last week, and the news was kind of ominous. Congestion rose to its highest level since 1993, when the agency began tracking rush-hour traffic conditions and reporting them in its Metropolitan Freeway System Congestion Report. This year’s report found roads were jammed 23.7 percent of the time between 5 and 10 a.m. and 2 and 7 p.m. on weekdays. Even more foreboding is that roads are projected to be jammed 30 percent of the...

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OLA Jim Nobles Releases Critical Met Council Transit Audit: Legislative Leaders React

“Metropolitan Council staff told us they use one set of assumptions (based on historical state and local funding) when preparing their federal transportation financial plans, and different assumptions (based on current appropriations law) when preparing internal reports and information for the Minnesota Legislature.” OLA ...

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Backlash? Apparent Protest Planned Over Minneapolis Bike Lanes

Drivers in Minneapolis continue to have a rough time of it, as more car lanes go the way of bike lanes. Our recent report on traffic congestion highlighted one case in point on Washington Avenue from Hennepin Avenue to Fifth Avenue South. Commuters have endured road construction for months. But the wait may get even worse once work wraps up. Drivers will have two fewer lanes to get to the freeway, four instead of six, thanks to two newly installed lanes for bikes. Never mind the detrimental impact on the environment and economy, pointed out in our report. This congestion would...

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Twin Cities Traffic Armageddon

A critical stretch of Highway 35W, the Twin Cities' main North-South route, has been closed for the weekend. This closure caused howls of outrage from many Twin Cities residents, because four major events were scheduled in downtown Minneapolis on Saturday and Sunday--the Gophers football game beginning at 11 on Saturday morning, the final Twins games of the season at 6 p.m. on Saturday and 2:00 on Sunday, and a Vikings game at noon on Sunday. It would be hard to find a worse time to close down 35W. Governor Mark Dayton expressed concern about the closure. This is typical of Dayton:...

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