‘Progressives’ want to take America back to the 1920s

“Progressives” often allege that conservatives want to take the United States back to the 1950s. In fact, with their obsession with getting Americans back onto trains, it is America’s “progressives” who want to take the United States back — all the way to 1920. That is the year that intercity rail ridership in this country hit its non-war peak.

The Northern Lights Express is one example. This is the multi-billion dollar plan to resurrect the passenger train service between Minneapolis and Duluth which was axed way back when Phil Collins was top of the Billboard Hot 100 with “One More Night” because nobody used it anymore.

But it is not the only one. Back in 2018, I asked “Why is the Ramsey County board going to waste up to $2 billion on a pointless streetcar?” This was in reference to the proposal “to spend up to $2 billion on a streetcar [running] from Union Depot to the airport and the Mall of America.” As I noted at the time, “the 54 bus already runs along exactly the proposed route” so why do we need this streetcar? In 2019, I noted that “The streetcar isn’t expected to help many people,” “The streetcar will serve fewer people than the 54 bus currently does,” and that “The streetcar will actually be slower than the bus.”

This pointless exercise in nostalgia hasn’t gone away. On December 13, Ramsey County’s Policy Advisory Committee met to discuss the “Riverview Corridor” which includes plans for the streetcar running along the route currently served by the 54 bus.

Occasionally, roadworks in the Twin Cities will uncover tracks of the old streetcars that once trundled round St Paul and Minneapolis. When the Underground was built in London 150 years ago, a large number of artefacts were uncovered, some dating back to Roman times and beyond. Nobody thought it would be a good idea to bring chariots back.