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Minnesota needs a Brexit from the Met Council: Dakota County makes a move

Courtesy of Metro Transit
The Met Council’s city-centric transit plan has been rejected by suburban counties.

Allow me to juxtapose two news stories. The first is a local story, a small rebellion so obscure you might not have noticed it, which signals an important shift in regional partnerships. The other is an international story with large and as yet unknown global consequences. Both stories feature a rebuke to modern bureaucracy by the people who pay for, and live subject to, unchecked authority.

Kim Crockett
Kim Crockett

The big story, of course, is Brexit. As one commentator put it, “This hugely unexpected vote by the British people represents nothing less than a rejection of the unelected bureaucrats in Brussels who are disconnected from the hopes and fears of average working class people throughout the EU.”  

The small, local story is Dakota County commissioners voting 6-1 to exit something called “CTIB” or the Counties Transit Improvement Board. CTIB is made up of elected officials from five of the seven metro counties, but it is dominated by another body of unelected bureaucrats in Minneapolis and St. Paul who are disconnected from the hopes and fears of people throughout the metro area.

Created in 2008, CTIB is one of many transit organizations operating under the umbrella of the Metropolitan Council. CTIB uses revenues from certain sales taxes to fund transitways for bus rapid transit, light rail and commuter rail.

Thrive MSP 2040

The driving vision for transit, however, is dominated by the Met Council’s new long-term plan for the region called Thrive MSP 2040, a city-centric plan for transit and housing that demands more resources from the suburbs than they get back. This is why all five suburban counties banded together to reject the 2040 transit plan when it was announced in 2014,yet the plan remains unchanged today.

One of the plan’s architects is Peter McLaughlin, a Hennepin County Commissioner and Chair of CTIB, who has been directing transit policy in Minnesota for years.

McLaughlin, sounding a bit petulant, not unlike the EU Stay crowd, reacted last week to the news of Dakota’s exit: “I’m disappointed. I think it’s a step backward in regionalism, but that’s their prerogative. We’re going to move forward and invest in transit. They just won’t be a part of it.”

That’s the idea, of course. Dakota County, and maybe other counties, want out.

Vision doesn’t meet Dakota County needs

Dakota County has been contributing about 13 percent of CTIB’s total transit tax, but only receives about 7 percent of its capital and operating grants. Dakota County tax dollars are increasingly going to fund a vision that is not meeting the county’s growing needs.

Rather than simply focusing on the delivery of efficient regional systems in support of economic development, which is the sensible side of regionalism, the Met Council has decided its true and higher mission is using its power over transit, waste water and housing to engineer “outcomes” for income inequality, the achievement gap, and climate change. The council has even mapped the region by race and income. The council’s transportation and housing policies are all viewed through various “lenses” like equity. Here is how the council describes it:

“The Council has identified equity as one of five key regional outcomes from Thrive MSP 2040, alongside stewardship, prosperity, livability and sustainability. In Thrive MSP 2040, the Metropolitan Council commits to using equity as a lens to evaluate its operations, planning and investments. The Council also commits to exploring its authority to use its resources and roles to mitigate the place-based dimension of racial, ethnic and income-based disparities.”

What exactly does that mean?

This self-aggrandizing, perpetually creeping mission imposes a relentlessly “progressive” framework on the entire region. I am sure this approach to regional planning is popular with the reigning elite, but it does not work in Dakota County and other communities focused on increasing mobility for residents so they can get to work rather than a top-down plan that tells people how and where to live.

Dominated by Hennepin and Ramsey

CTIB was supposed to shift some of the Met Council’s authority to counties, giving local elected officials more say, but the organization is dominated by Hennepin County, followed by Ramsey County, and the council’s transit-oriented development agenda.

That agenda, if successful, will direct billions of dollars to the Southwest and Bottineau LRT projects, leaving less for more service-oriented and cost-efficient bus transit, as well as road expansion for the metro. It will also direct taxpayer subsidies for housing and business along those rail lines.

This city-centric transit plan has not just been rejected by suburban counties, it is also at the heart of the 2016 legislative session crack-up, with Gov. Mark Dayton and core urban legislators demanding funds for light rail. This crack-up impacts all of Minnesota.

Like voters outside of London in Great Britain, many Minnesotans in the metro area feel their concerns are being ignored, and worse, that they are being asked to fund policies that are not working. Unlike Great Britain, metro counties and cities do not have the legal power to exit the Met Council’s regional jurisdiction. The Legislature created the Met Council, and only the Legislature can fix it.

In the meantime, however, Dakota County can exit CTIB, and plans to say “Cheerio” in 2017. 

Kim Crockett is vice president of Center of the American Experiment and director of the Employee Freedom Project.

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Comments (40)

  1. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 06/29/2016 - 08:35 am.

    There are more than a few parallels with Brexit.

    The failure to see that a confederation provides benefits that opponents do not recognize, that costs that are carried by the confederation fees do provide benefits to those who want to leave, and entirely like Brexit, the full effects of removal from a confederation are not fully explored.

  2. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 06/29/2016 - 08:53 am.

    Congratulations, Dakota County!

    on cutting off your nose to spite your face.

    You’re perfectly welcome to be your own little, “independent” enclave,…

    but I suspect you’ll be surprised to discover that, in a couple of decades, a lot of the development in the greater metropolitan area will have passed you by.

    No doubt at that point you’ll still be blaming the metro area for not giving you your fair share,…

    and continue to refuse to look in the mirror for how what you did back in 2017,…

    set you up to be left behind.

    How sad that you have allowed yourselves to be convinced by such short-sighted leadership to make such a boneheaded move.

    • Submitted by Craig Johnson on 06/30/2016 - 08:19 am.

      Well said….

      Met Council seems to be a favorite target of groups that are institutionally opposed to everything. But the target issue is that the counties must have an area wide plan to succeed. Met Council provides that plan, its necessary and benefits the greater Twin Cities area with intelligent and global thinking.

      A great example is Light Rail. Yesterday I travelled through the SW Corridor. What an unimaginable mess. Commute times seem to be at a near constant peak, and any road construction devastates drive times. I realize that many do not see light rail as making a difference, but, in reality it does. It relieves roads of thousands of vehicles that unavoidably make commute times worse.

      Drivers have the ultimate decision: Drive your vehicle and sit in traffic, or take the bus or light rail. Met Council makes the later alternatives possible.

      • Submitted by Larry Moran on 06/30/2016 - 09:34 am.

        I agree that traveling through the SW suburbs, at almost any time of the day, is a mess. But this approach as currently described is not the solution. There is no infrastructure along most of the line to move people from the stations to their final destinations. People coming to the SW suburbs for employment will not walk long distances in cold or wet weather, reducing the line’s effectiveness. The current two lines move through areas that have sufficient bus connections and density to make light rail more feasible. People traveling downtown from the SW suburbs will have park and rides along the way, but then the line becomes a commuter line and doesn’t need to be running every 7 minutes during rush hour.

        In this case, light rail does not make a difference on congestion. The recently published Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) states that only 6,500 cars will be removed from the roads during rush hour by 2030. In addition, the line as proposed will not reduce pollution: Green House Gas Emissions actually go up (vs. the No Build option) by 2040 with this light rail project, especially around stations (page3-204).

        There’s no question that something must be done about transit in this area, and the answer is not building more lanes. But this project will not solve the problems we’re facing. It’s time to start over and propose a solution that will actually accomplish the goal of improved transit throughout the region.

        • Submitted by Matthew Johnson on 06/30/2016 - 10:49 pm.

          A voice of reason amid those blinded by the religion of light rail. A train between two cities and through a university makes sense. Travel between suburbs, particularly in our climate, is is better served by the more flexible bus.

          • Submitted by Mike martin on 07/06/2016 - 11:14 pm.

            Green line makes sense?????

            The Green line
            is slower than in shape biker
            over 300 small businesses when out of business since construction started
            eliminated 70% of on street parking
            has a high accident rate

            If this is success what is failure?

  3. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/29/2016 - 09:23 am.

    More Brilliance from the CAE

    Typical short-sighted thinking from our resident gang of “intellectuals.” Does the writer really think that foregoing regional efforts at planning is a better way of doing things? That the heavy-lifting for things like transit and affordable housing should fall entirely on the core cities, letting while the suburbs get a free ride?

    This piece is also one of the most absurdly overwrought articles I have read in a long time. Framing a dispute about regional transit funding in such apocalyptic terms is, at best, a way to make any rational argument that might be hidden in the prose look foolish. I can only conclude that Ms. Crockett has modeled her writing on that of master prose-stylist Katherine Kersten: Paragraphs full of laden imagery and weak analogies, capped by the most feeble of unsupported conclusions at the end of it all.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 06/29/2016 - 11:16 am.

      My favorite part . . . .

      My favorite part was when she referred to McLaughlin and “the EU Stay crowd” as “petulant”.

      “pet·u·lant ˈpeCHələnt/adjective (of a person or their manner) childishly sulky or bad-tempered.”

      “Childishly sulky”? Really?

  4. Submitted by Doug Gray on 06/29/2016 - 09:49 am.

    the parallel would be complete…

    …if money earned in Dakota County were now worth only 85 cents on the dollar, all its governments had their bond ratings degraded and the county heads of both major political parties were forced out.

  5. Submitted by Matthew Steele on 06/29/2016 - 10:01 am.

    But “regionalism” is usually code for “sprawl subsidies”

    For a special interest group that is supposedly libertarian and market-oriented, CAE has never seen a subsidy of sprawlscape they didn’t like. They’ve never seen social engineering of auto-oriented land uses through money-losing roadway expansion they didn’t like. I guess they only like subsidies, social engineering, and destroying market feedback loops when it is in their narrow interest?

    And that’s what makes this whole thing strange… Crockett’s ongoing mistrust of the Metropolitan Council and the concept of regionalism, despite the fact that the Council and the concept of regionalism is used as a catalyst to subsidize low-value land uses in the hinterlands that actually cause fiscal insolvency over two to three infrastructure lifecycles.

    Many now know it as the “growth ponzi scheme.” Newly developed land uses where the marginal tax revenues generated by that property will never come close to covering the marginal infrastructure expenses for serving that property, let alone all the other expenses borne by the public to serve that low-value land use. Privatize the initial upside for the sprawl practitioners, and socialize the long-term decay and financial despair caused by them.

    You think CAE would love CTIB, an authority which was able to siphon tens of millions of dollars to add lanes for car commuters on Cedar Ave in Apple Valley, or which gave $10 million to Anoka County for a freeway interchange in the City of Ramsey which had absolutely zero use or benefit for transit. You think they’d love a JPB that was so effective at siphoning transit dollars for sprawl-inducing roadway expansions. But, alas, I guess not.

  6. Submitted by Matthew Steele on 06/29/2016 - 10:09 am.

    “Regional Travel”

    “Regional Travel: A post-WWII euphamism for long & unsustainable car trips.”

    That’s the caption for Ian Lockwood’s famous cartoon, where a motorist driving a car entitled “Regional Travel Demand” shouts out the window at a “city” pedestrian on the sidewalk…

    “Hey city, I choose to exercise my freedom and reside out in the suburbs. Now I want to drive fast through here without delay. So I demand that public taxes be spent to widen your roads and lower your safety, health, and quality of life. Fair deal? Want to shake on it pal?”

    As a resident of Hennepin County, a county which receives far less in CTIB spending than we contribute in CTIB tax receipts, I say good riddance to the Dakota and the rest of the CWADS Collar Counties in CTIB (Anoka and Washington at this point). Then we can cancel worthless projects to transit-hostile land uses, such as the Gold Line to Lake Elmo farm fields, and keep our tax dollars within urban Hennepin County, the true economic engine of Minnesota. Enough with exporting good urban wealth outward with the heavy hand of government sprawl subsidies under the banner of “regionalism.”

  7. Submitted by Jim Million on 06/29/2016 - 11:13 am.

    Answers Please:

    If the Met Council is so astutely visionary, why do we live through constant late-to-party plans, regular completion delays and budget overruns? These common facts of poor performance have long been the reality of political appointments and mediocrity of execution. Have they not?

    Why is it that for at least 40 years, astute citizens have focused on proper high occupancy mass transit, essentially first for ever-growing suburban commuter system stress, then rational thoughts of inter-city extensions? But, no, the Met Council has developed a system that benefits re-development of the prime governing cities through various new sports venues, bringing fans back and forth for their games. The Hiawatha Line was sensibly promoted to bring corporate commuters easily into downtown Minneapolis, so it seemed, increasing our status as a key business center of the Midwest. Well, those “suits” prefer private car services, in case you haven’t been told, as do our own outbound execs. [Many of them are now taking their own corporate jets in and out of Blaine Airport, instead, by the way.]

    Instead of foresight, we have observed 1960s reactionary planning of more concrete, more lanes, more car paths. The most recent example of default construction is the re-configuration of 35W through New Brighton north to Lino Lakes. This is the second major revision in about 25 years–as usual too little, too late.

    And people are still talking about a fast train to Rochester; although, that again seems derailed for now.

    Proven Masters are required to design and implement a Master Plan. It’s long past time to check credentials of all these people.

    Every reader who truly decries lack of Metro social program funding or out-state subordination should
    closely examine all parties behind the “Minnegalopolis” monster.

    [I invite all skeptical readers to book a 10:00 am flight from MSP to O’Hare, and then attempt to get there from Shoreview–without booking an overnight hotel room.]

    • Submitted by David Wintheiser on 06/29/2016 - 12:08 pm.

      MSP to O’Hare?

      Easy. I’d ask a friend to drop me off at MSP at 8am. Problem solved.

      Of course, if you’re such a devout libertarian that you have no friends, only economic relationships, then I suppose it would be harder for you. But that doesn’t mean that catering to your view of life should be regional policy, on any subject.


      David Wintheiser

      • Submitted by Jim Million on 06/29/2016 - 04:08 pm.

        Pretty Personal

        Since you believe I have no “friends,” perhaps I might borrow one of yours. Then she could tell you how much she enjoyed the round trip.

        Thanks to others for suggestions. At that time of morning it’s close to 90 minutes, depending on congestion, weather and day of week.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 06/29/2016 - 01:56 pm.

      Shoreview to MSP in well under an hour:

      Lexington, E, Fairview, Larpenteur, Cleveland, Raymond, Pelham, Lake Street Bridge, 42nd avenue, 46th street, Hiawatha.

      See, all of the big city infrastructure is worth something.

      • Submitted by Jim Million on 06/29/2016 - 04:49 pm.

        You win the prize

        Thanks, Neal, for remembering the best kept commuting secrets from the 1940s. The city arterials remain the best stressless routes in any rush hour.

        My standard is Lexington, a leisurely and pleasant drive straight into the heart of Saint Paul, with many options along the way, all signal controlled.

        My shot is straight down Lex all the way to W. Seventh (Fort Road), then right on out around #5 into the back door. Business associates have taken Lexington for years, in and out of town, nearly always the same 20-30 minutes regardless of weather.

        I find my grandfather’s routes to still often be the best routes.

    • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 06/29/2016 - 02:09 pm.

      Shoreview to MSP

      It looks like you could take the 261 Express from the Shoreview Community Center to Downtown Minneapolis (47 mins) and transfer to the Blue Line (22 mins from Nicollet Mall station) at a cost of $3. Not super quick, but relatively cheap.

  8. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 06/29/2016 - 11:54 am.

    More Data

    For decades the core cities have subsidized the suburbs, building roads, water, and sewer connections so they could buy farmland for cheap, develop it, and make a tidy profit.

    Now CTIB and the Met Council have redone their allocation formula to take into account climate issues and the underserved in our community, which slightly reduces the amount of money that goes towards the suburban subsidy. Now, and only now, to they raise a hollow howl about how the Met Council is an unelected body, as if that’s a bad thing. The whole point in making them appointed is so they’re not subjected to the very political maneuverings we see today so they can make sound decisions that are based on science and not politics.

    To be clear, the burbs still get money for expansion–just not as much money. But they’re not happy with that. They want every last dime that’s put into the Met Council funds so that none go towards light rail. Never mind that light rail serves the entire community–they’re just worked up about getting the maximum benefit for their back yard.

    Brexit and Dakota county’s exit are both symptomatic about a greater issue society faces today: the return to tribalism. It’s an effort to circle the wagons and keep out anyone who doesn’t look exactly like they do. It fosters the attitude that “I got mine and I’m going to lock the door behind me so you don’t have the same opportunities I did.”

    It’s the fear of the Other, people who have different clothes, religions, and ways of speaking. That’s why we have people complaining about immigrants, vilifying Muslims, and promoting a myopic “English only” agenda.

    What they don’t realize is that there is no Other.

  9. Submitted by David Markle on 06/29/2016 - 12:08 pm.

    A commission for us

    We need a Metropolitan Commission, one that’s there for us. And who is us? County commissioners and majors? No, “us” is the public. Let’s push for a board of commissioners elected by the public, according to districts of equal population. It’s an important level of government that needs that kind of transparency, accountability and authority .

    • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 07/01/2016 - 11:58 am.

      Elections

      I would vehemently oppose any effort to make the Met Council an elected body.

      Here’s why.

      If you elect these people, then you subject them to the same campaigning and political maneuverings we see at every other level of today’s politics. The Council would devolve into a body of bickering competing interests, each one fighting for an ever-smaller crumb from the funding pie.

      We want–and need–a body that’s above the infighting that plagues every level of office from the President down to the Lake Elmo city council. This allows them to build for the long term rather than cater to the interests of every little office holder who is suddenly drunk on the two ounces of cheap political power they just drank.

      Tell you what: take a look at other regions of the country and see what they do for region-wide planning. Ask them who their gold standard is. Ask them how effective their elected commissions are, assuming they even have one. Study how effective their region’s planning and build-out is given an elected board or no board at all. Then come back here and share with me and the other readers what you’ve found.

      • Submitted by Mike martin on 07/06/2016 - 11:33 pm.

        Met Council Thrive 2014 was developed by new Urbanists

        Have you read the latest plan from the bureaucrats at the Met Council? The goal is to get everyone out of single family homes & into multifamily housing.

        What make you think the people the Governor appoints have any experience or skill in regional planning. Its all politics, who gets appointed to the Met Council

        The bureaucrats at the Met Council developed the latest plan to eliminate single family homes in the Mpls.-St.Paul & replace them with multi-family. Then handed it to the governor’s appointees to approve.

        The Met Council has a budget of over $ 1 billion, with no oversight.

        There is good regional planning & there is bad regional planning. The Met Council’s Thrive 2040 is a bad regional plan. If only 2 out of the 7 counties support the plan how can it be a good plan?

  10. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 06/29/2016 - 12:32 pm.

    Follow The Money

    Where does CAE get it’s funding? It seems a fair question to ask.

  11. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 06/29/2016 - 01:38 pm.

    Making no claims

    …to originality, I can only echo, in large part, the comments already written by RB Holbrook, Matthew Steele, Todd Adler, and Frank Phelan. In particular, it’s useful to “follow the money” that supports the faux think-tank Ms. Crockett represents. As is often the case, and like her sister-in-outrage, Ms. Kersten, Ms. Crockett knows not whereof she speaks. If we’re going to have the term “petulant” thrown at us, Ms. Crockett should at least acknowledge that she, too, suffers from that same syndrome.

    Here, as is the case for most sizable metro areas, the core cities subsidize the suburbs, whether the suburbs want to admit that fact or not. My guess, without being a MnDOT policy-maker, is that Dakota County residents will fare poorly if county resident/taxpayers are required to foot the entire bill to maintain the vehicle arteries that bring commerce by the millions of dollars to the county’s merchants, not to mention pay for the building and maintenance of those arteries so that Dakota County residents can get to their jobs, largely located in that evil, dreaded Minneapolopolis that’s been paying a sizable portion of Dakota County transportation bills for many, many years.

    Equally important, there’s no evidence that political fragmentation of the sort that Ms. Crockett apparently reveres will either save Dakota County taxpayers any money, or provide measurably better transit outcomes. I lived for half a century in St. Louis County, MO, the poster child for the sort of political Balkanization that Ms. Crockett’s organization apparently favors. They couldn’t be more wrong. That sort of political free-for-all is, for ordinary citizens, an unmitigated disaster, particularly for those of color or modest income. If protecting islands of white privilege is the primary goal, it would be more honest if Ms. Crockett and her organization simply said so.

  12. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 06/29/2016 - 01:57 pm.

    Director of the “Employee Freedom Project?”

    This person (using Republican speak) is apparently in charge of making Minnesota a so-called “right to work” state. This essentially means that a person in a union shop doesn’t have to pay union dues, but get the benefits of the union bargaining process in which other workers are willing to negotiate up to the point of striking to earn their fair share of the productivity of their company. Companies would just as soon pay people less and cut benefits (even below the point of paying people enough to support their families) to leave more money for executives.

    Companies of course have no interest in “employee freedom” in the truest sense of the word, doing everything they can do to prevent legal union organizing activities. Essentially, this all is one big lie – very much like the pack of lies that the Brexit advocates used to convince gullible British voters to vote for something that is going to have devastating consequences.

    Fact is,without Minneapolis and St, Paul people would not be living in Dakota County in great numbers.. Thousands of people are able to live in the suburbs, taking cars and buses to work in Hennepin and Ramsey Counties because the Met Council and state has made capital investments that allow them to do so. Perhaps all the major roads coming into the downtowns should be made toll roads, and then Dakota could “pay as you go” full costs for getting to work, school or downtown sports and cultural events. The congestion on these roads is largely a result of long distance commuters who may not understand how they benefit.

    The fact is that Dakota County is like the tail trying to wag the dog. And if you look at the politics of the suburbs, it isn’t at all certain that tax revenues transferred to the Met Council will be invested in transportation. No problem whatsoever with representing your counties’ interests but it is hard to see your residents as “victims.”

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 06/29/2016 - 05:50 pm.

      That’s NOT Conservative

      Conservatives favor limited government, and staying out of the affairs of private parties. Therefore, conservatives oppose forcing government between a private company and a private democratically chosen organization of that company’s employees by not allowing those two parties to negotiate a union security clause.

      Anyone proposing Right To Work For Less (also referred to as Right To Freeload) favors expanding the role of government into the private labor markets.

      I’m not sure what to call the people who may be pushing this, but they most certainly are not conservatives.

  13. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/29/2016 - 01:59 pm.

    It’s gotten to the point…

    All you have to do is look at the title and you know it’s a CFTAE author. One can only wonder when this experiment with facile arguments and so-called policy “debate” will end?

  14. Submitted by Tim Milner on 06/29/2016 - 02:16 pm.

    Transit as redevelopment

    my big issue with the whole light rail plan/system is that it seems far less about moving people efficiently and far more about spurring redevelopment in particular areas.

    Quite frankly, you could buy a lot of buses, run them far more frequently, and move a lot more people than what it costs for light rail. But then, you would not get the Central Corridor line redevelopment, which has totaled $4.2 billion, according to Metro Transit estimates (quoted from the previous story on MinnPost)

    That is what is causing more than a few of us more conservative types to pause. Why is the entire region paying for something that looks like redevelopment? Why has tax increment financing not being used – capturing the difference between current and redeveloped property taxes – as the funding mechanism for light rail? $4.2 billion in redevelopment is a pretty big number – a number that quite frankly will result in some rather large increases in property tax collections in the coming years for some specific cities and school districts. Why can’t some of that increment money be used to pay the cost for creating the light rail?

    Lots of people with some vested interests on this issue. The task of actually moving people efficiently seems to me to be a primary talking point but a rather secondary motivation. So I am happy to see a pause in trying to build out a system that seems far more redevelopment focused than on the issue of efficiently moving people.

    • Submitted by Matthew Steele on 06/29/2016 - 03:00 pm.

      I assume you share the same concern about spending on “redevelopment” transportation spending in the metro? Te new Hwy 212, new Hwy 610, new freeway interchanges such as the one proposed at I-94 and Brockton Lane, or recent interchange expansions such as I-35E and Main Street in Hugo, etc? Shouldn’t we be using value capture to pay for those redevelopment projects that are a handout to firms that convert farm fields into sprawl?

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/29/2016 - 03:34 pm.

      Looking at the Bigger Picture

      Why should development or redevelopment not be considered as a factor in planning transportation? For too long, highways and roads were built without much thought of the consequences to the areas they were built through, or over (Whatever happened to Rondo? Who, back then, cared?).

      Urban redevelopment is, most would agree, a good thing. When it is transit-driven, that means it is taking advantage of infrastructure that is already there, or already planned. It is geared to the community.

      Your comment reminded me of a stunt former Rep. Krinkie pulled shortly after the Blue Line opened. Mr. Krinkie found a gaggle of anti-transit “experts” to ride the train with him. All of them were dismissive of the idea that any redevelopment would result. Of course, Mr. Krinkie was outspoken to the point of being tiresome in his opposition to transit, but it’s still funny to see how wrong he was.

      “Why is the entire region paying for something that looks like redevelopment?” Why, indeed? Why did the whole region pay for the expansion of highways that allowed the development of auto-oriented exurban communities? Interstate highways were one of the largest (if unintentional) social engineering projects ever undertaken. Would Maple Grove look anything like it does now without I-94?

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/29/2016 - 04:24 pm.

      My concern

      Is that urban chauvanism pretending to be transit planning has linked up with anti choo choo republican obstruction and will form a coalition that will effectively demolish any chance we have for building a comprehensive regional transit system.

      Every LR line we’ve build has exceeded ridership expectations and there’s no reason to suppose SWLRT will be any different, so yes, it’s about moving people. The problem is that a few so-called community designers don’t know where to draw their urban/suburban dividing lines and assume that any development outside the city limit is sprawl while anything inside that limit is pure genius.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 06/30/2016 - 08:14 am.

      I agree and when…

      We finally get to a light rail line that is not city center to city center or city center to airport, which, I agree, had redevelopment as a big factor, and instead get our first city center to suburban workers where moving people is a rightfully much higher priority, the GOP is determined to shut it down.

      We are 3 billion into a 6 billion dollar project that is a proven and accepted way to move people in big cities. It is time to stop using it as a urban vs. rural political vote getter and just do it.

      • Submitted by Matthew Steele on 06/30/2016 - 10:28 am.

        In what world is our current system not about ridership?

        We have the 9th highest ridership of any light rail/tram network in the United States, despite having a shorter system than 18 other networks.

        We are behind only Boston’s Green Line and San Francisco’s MUNI Metro, both of which are “legacy” tramways that operate as subways for much of their length, in terms of ridership per mile. We’re far ahead of all other “modern streetcars” or modern LRT networks in terms of ridership per mile.

        If anything, we’ve proven that “moving people [being] rightfully much higher priority” is actually fulfilled by building lines where the density is high and the land use is walkable.

  15. Submitted by Pat Davies on 06/29/2016 - 02:46 pm.

    metropolitan governance

    From Pat Davies – as one of the members of the original, great Citizens League committee that recommended and then worked for establishment of the Met Council, I am heartened by MinnPost readers informed comments that follow the CAE predictable column.

    • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 07/01/2016 - 11:47 am.

      TOTH

      Hopefully we can do Pat Davies proud. It’s an intelligent bunch of policy wonks that lurk around MinnPost and add their voices to the mix. I’m continually amazed at the depth of thought and and data that go into the comment section here. If someone gets even a small detail wrong, someone if bound to set them right in a direct but polite manner rather than the usual vitriol that passes for politics and public discourse these days.

      It gives me hope that maybe, someday, we can get our political environment back on the tracks again.

  16. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 06/30/2016 - 09:37 am.

    And….

    As noted earlier, Ms. Crockett of the CAE also carries the title of: “Director of the Employee Freedom Project”. The simple fact that she and her organization are so ashamed of what they are trying to do that they don’t even call it by a name that explains their goals tells us all we need to know about her/their political integrity.

    And the funny thing is that earlier efforts by right wing spinners have resulted in a phrase that puts a happy face on their efforts to limit employee freedom and also now is known by almost all for it’s goals and aspirations:

    “Right to Work”

    Why is Ms. Crockett not the “Director of the Minnesota Right to Work Project”? I get the fact that she would not prefer: “Kim Crockett, Director of the Minnesota Screw the Unions Project” but truth and transparency are far off the radar for Ms. Crockett and the CAE.

    • Submitted by Logan Foreman on 06/30/2016 - 03:18 pm.

      Correct. CAE gets away with too many passes

      In Its posts. Failure on source issues. Even equating the Brexit to the MET Council is a huge stretch when you consider the racist overtones in England and pure lies in the campaign on both sides. The truth of the matter is CAE wants to add politics to the MET Council in order to screw it up like the legislature. How many more times will this subject come up?

  17. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 07/06/2016 - 11:02 am.

    Oh. It’s you again.

    Can I blame you for my 401(k) right now? Because most of us working stiffs that don’t have any other way to reasonably pay for retirement aren’t seeing Brexit as a positive thing. Heck, even if my 401(k) and IRA weren’t taking a hit for the anti-brilliance of Brexit, I would remain disgusted at the selfish, foolish, and racist reasons for Brexit. For the sake of decency, I hope the true reasons for Dakota county making a Brexit aren’t the same reasons as the real Brexit. But considering who’s defending it here, I’m concerned for humanity there, too.

    For what it’s worth, and for the sake of being honest, I hope that the EU takes a hard line and Brexiters get exactly what they voted for. And I also hope that the Metro doesn’t go soft on Dakota county, either. Such short-sightedness should have long term and painful consequences, and I’m not one to feel terribly sorry when consequences appear. Personally, it chaps my hide to know that I’m subsidizing those hoity toity buses that have the fancy paint and go out to the distant suburbs to a greater extent than those that actually carry people around within the city–just so suburbanites can feel superior to the inner city folks who have to stoop so low as to take Metro Transit. It also chaps my hide that I have to subsidize the pretty roads out in the boonies while I wreck my car on potholes the size of the vacuum of thought brought to us by the CAE on a daily basis. Gosh, I wish I could take a bus or a train to work in a reasonable amount of time, but we’re busy subsidizing Dakota County. Well, I hope that ends so we can pay for better transit in the Metro without sending a dime to the Brexiters.

    By the way, it should be clear that Ms. Crockett (again) has no idea what she’s really talking about, or she wouldn’t have tried to make a positive correlation between something she supports and Brexit. At least not in front of a thoughtful crowd. And not in front of a group of people who actually have (or have had) to work to live. You know, EARN a living. Because we’re tired of all this political selfishness ripping our retirements out of our pockets and putting it into Ms. Crockett & friends’.

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