"He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left."
Matthew 25:33

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Robert Street Transit Study

Just a few weeks ago in northern Dakota County there were several Robert Street Transit Study workshops. I think that the most discouraging part of all of this was the lack of people that showed up. One lady expressed her desire for a personal helicopter for her transportation needs. I asked several questions and the one that you may find interesting is that according to the Metro Transit report for 2006 from the National Transit Data Base reports that overall Metro Transit received 32% of their operating costs from the farebox. It appears that the LRT (Hiawatha light rail line) gets about 42% of LRT operating costs from the farebox and the bus system gets about 31% of bus operating costs from the farebox. The balance is paid by you and I, with our taxes.

You may find this interesting. Senator Metzen and Representative Hanson introduced these bills asking for $6,000,000 to appropriate from the bond proceeds fund to the Metropolitan Council for environmental studies, engineering, real property acquisition, and construction of passenger facilities for the Robert Street corridor transitway along a corridor on or parallel to U.S. Highway 52 and Robert Street from within the city of St. Paul to Dakota County Road 42 in Rosemount.

House File 2540
http://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/bin/bldbill.php?bill=H2540.0.html&session=ls85

Senate File 2341
http://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/bin/bldbill.php?bill=S2341.0.html&session=ls85

So far $500,000 has been appropriated for this study. Now, before the study is even complete, they want $6,000,000 to start the process of purchasing land and build passenger facilities. Don't you think that our present infrastructure, (roads and bridges), should take priority? How much of our taxpayer money is going to be wasted on frivolous light rail lines when the money is needed for more important things?

Now check this out!

House File 2407
http://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/bin/bldbill.php?bill=H2407.0.html&session=ls85

Senate File 2156
http://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/bin/bldbill.php?bill=S2156.0.html&session=ls85

These little items ask for $500,000 to be appropriated from bond proceeds to study the feasibility of a high-speed rail line between Rochester and the Union Depot Concourse Multimodal Transit Hub in down town St. Paul. What really amuses me is that the Union Depot may have to get nixed from the Central Corridor light Rail plans because of the incredible cost of that project. Add on to that the revelation of having to rebuild or retrofit the Washington Avenue bridge any amount between $30,000,000 and $400,000,000 of our taxpayer money.

Also, here is a new one for you.

House File 246
http://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/bin/bldbill.php?bill=ceH0246.1.html&session=ls85

and
Senate File 189
http://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/bin/bldbill.php?bill=S0189.0.html&session=ls85

These ask for $500,000 to study the feasibility of combining the Southwest Rail Transit Corridor with the Interstate Highway 394 Corridor between downtown Minneapolis and a point of divergence west of downtown.

All of this went on early last session. I am sure all of this gives you some idea of what is going on behind the scenes and is a good example of why we have to pay attention. I am reminded of the phrase "visions of the anointed." Our elected officials feel that they are anointed by us voters to fulfil their visions. All while spending our money.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

aren't these the same taxes that pay for the roads that your Escalade gets it's 2 miles per gallon on? When you look at the expenditures on mass transit and compare them to road work, they are extremely minor. More people on buses and light rail means less congestion on the highways, less lanes to be built, cheaper gas prices due to less demand, etc, etc. A solid mass transit system is a far less expensive way to bring in new business than corporate welfare perks. If you've traveled on a bus, you'll see these are not jet-setters sipping martinis while bringing their poodles to the day spa, but rather ordinary people trying to make a living.

Bill Jungbauer said...

What makes you think I drive an Escalade? You obviously do not even know anything about me. I am a carpenter. I drive a full size van because I have to carry tools and materials. My wife’s vehicle is a mini van. I am an ordinary person just trying to make a living. I can see why you are anonymous.

It’s my blog with my name on it. No fear here.

Look at the facts,

Only 3% of the population of metropolitan areas uses mass transit yet all of us pay taxes to keep it running. Here in Minnesota it’s 4%.

Here in Minnesota 84% of us drive to work alone. That’s the way we like it. My whole life I remember hearing “The traffic is terrible today.” Light rail will not change that. Ever drive on Hiawatha? Just because the train is coming, traffic is stopped at the stoplights. Why? Because someone might be turning left or right. Even if no one is, everyone, including those who are going straight must stop and wait for the train to go by for the light to change.

My point is that our roads and bridges need our attention now. We do not need to spend our tax dollars on light rail. I am not willing to pay more taxes for someone else’s vision. I am more than happy to see my tax dollars spent on important priorities, roads and bridges.

Anonymous said...

"Here in Minnesota 84% of us drive to work alone. That’s the way we like it."

This is inefficient and completely not sustainable with the projected growth the metro area is set to see in the next 30 years. Trains, buses, and other forms of public transportation are a vital long-term solution that we need to put funding and research into today. Driving solo in an automobile to work not only pollutes our environment, but also wastes valuable time and resources.

Living in a city means working together as a society to create the most efficient infrastructure for increased economic development and general happiness and well-being.

We need a public transportation system in Minneapolis / St Paul and we need it now. I'm very disappointed to read your opinions about the proposed plans and studies regarding public transit, and will keep this information in mind when I vote come next election.

Stephen Thomas the Third said...

Mr. Jungbauer is right.. I have known him for years..He is a hard working blue collar guy..He and I alike drive older cars that do not guzzle gas..To think there are people out there who want a more light rail..St. paul and Minneapolis can not even make busses profitable yet alone light rail..Grow a brain..we need other things in our great cities besides light rail..

Bill Jungbauer said...

I do believe that transportation is an important issue. All along I have said that I support rapid bus transit such as that on the Cedar Avenue transit corridor. Especially down Robert St. Take for instance the K-Mart parking lot. The only time that lot is busy is during the State Fair when there are shuttle buses to the fairgrounds and back. In my opinion that would be a perfect place for a park and ride.

Since the collapse of the 35W bridge, use of park and ride terminals have shot up about 50% throughout the twin cities. I have also stated that the Lafayette Bridge is scheduled for replacement in 2012 and it would be better suited for light rail or rapid bus transit rather than Robert St., if that is what the future holds for us. In the present future I believe that our tax dollars are better spent on our existing infrastructure, namely roads and bridges. As you mentioned job and population growth is being projected out 30 years. Much can happen in that time. So far this year, half as many new home permits have been issued as in years past. One question I asked at the Robert St. Transit Study Workshop in Rosemount was how does this effect future growth projections. The answer given buy Richard H. Nau is that the cities of northern Dakota County are redoing their growth projections, which will be out early next year.

I am sorry you feel that this one issue will decide your vote for you. I am not one to talk out both sides of my mouth. I will not tailor what I say to please whomever I am talking to. I am working very hard to be a well-rounded candidate who is knowledgeable on many issues.

Last fall my opponent, Jim Metzen, twice denied that he was working toward light rail down Robert St. Once at the Pioneer Press when we were interviewed for their endorsement. And again on the air at Town Square Televisions candidate forum. You will never receive such behavior from me.