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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A few things that I either do not know/don't understand about mass transit in Minneapolis/St. Paul.

1) What.The.Hell.Is.Taking.So.Long?

Considering the downtown boom in Minneapolis, rising populations in both cities, and the Cities' reputation as progressive areas, why do we only have one light rail line that is convenient to (wild guess) 5% of the population? The fact that it has apparently been so successful shows that there's a demand for it, right? I can think off the top of my head about four other lines that would be very successful, as well. (Between the downtowns, Downtown Minneapolis to Uptown and south Minneapolis, Downtown St. Paul to Uptown Minneapolis, and North Minneapolis along Broadway probably) Why are we only now thinking of building just one more line over the course of the next four years?

2) Concerning the downtown/downtown light rail.

Is it really necessary to run this thing at grade on University Ave? The disruptions that will occur during construction are going to be incredible, and the delays from heavy traffic, stoplights, and car wrecks will significantly increase travel time and reduce efficiency.

How much thought is being given towards either a) running a light rail line either one block north or south of University, which will be able to be constructed much more quickly, have fewer traffic lights to contend with, and spur growth along both University Ave as well as whatever side street the train runs down, or b) elevating or making the thing a subway.

I know that option b will be much more expensive, but it seems, in my mind at least, that if you're going to make such a large capital investment in something that will pay immediate dividends towards the health of the city, it would make sense to go with the best, most efficient option. How will it affect ridership of this train line (and therefore its revenues, and therefore the health of the businesses along University Ave, and development along the corridor, etc.) if it is plauged by inefficiency? Are people really going to ride it in large numbers if it is much faster to drive? (Which seems to have fueled the success of the current light rail)

3. Who pays for this thing?

I keep hearing 800 million as the cost of the light rail line. Which sounds decidedly cheap when you consider how freaking much money the government throws away on stupid shit (okay calm down, calm down).

Seriously, though, the federal government spends an ungodly amount of money every year towards building freeways that accelerate endless sprawl. Does any federal money find its way towards mass transit projects, or is it the purview of the cities and states to pay for their own subways and light rails?

I'll hang up and listen
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