To the Editor:
More of the old, soft shoe from the Metropolitan Council, as reported in the April 28 light rail listening session hosted by the Robbinsdale Blue Line Extension Advisory Committee. By now, it’s down to an art form: An illusion of openness to new ideas masking a paucity of workable solutions. The only idea off the table for them is that it was all a lousy idea to begin with and will siphon off tax dollars for generations to come.
According to April 2017 figures (WCCO-CBS Minnesota), it costs taxpayers $1.84 per passenger to ride the light rail, on top of the $2 fare ($2.50 rush hour). This is a bargain compared to the Northstar Line, another Met Council fiasco, which costs the taxpayer $18.31 for every rider over and above fares ranging from $2 to $6.25. It doesn’t help that a high percentage of ridership pay no fares at all, a flaw in the system that should have been addressed before a single spadeful of dirt was shoveled. According to the Star Tribune in April 2015, fare dodgers are costing Metro Transit $28,345 a week, about $1.5 million a year.
At no point in the process has anyone at the Met Council asked, “Is this what people really want?” They already know that answer. All previous projects have been vehemently opposed by most communities they pass through on account of its deleterious impact on property values and the environment. If put to a vote, it is doubtful any of them would have been approved.
Why does the Met Council keep pitching this bad idea? Because they can. No one has the power to vote them out; there is no mechanism in place to rein them in. They operate under a cloak, and a curse, of unaccountability, shedding public feedback like water off a mallard.
Communist central planners have nothing on these guys.