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New federal ranking of Gold Line bus rapid transit puts funding in jeopardy

A proposed Gateway Gold Line station at 3M's Maplewood HQ
Gateway Corridor
A proposed Gateway Gold Line station at 3M's Maplewood HQ.

All that glitters is not gold. The Star Tribune’s Janet Moore reports: “Federal funders of the Gold Line dropped the rating of Minnesota’s first bus-rapid transit project, a move that could imperil critical funding needed to build the $461 million line. … The 10-mile Gold Line is slated to link downtown St. Paul to Woodbury, mostly along exclusive bus-only lanes hugging Interstate 94. Passenger service is expected to begin in 2024. … In the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) annual report issued late Monday on funding recommendations for public transit projects, the Gold Line was given a ‘medium low’ ranking.

Latest on Trump administration immigration policy. For Sahan Journal, Riham Feshir reports:The Trump administration is in talks with the government of Laos to allow for the deportation of Lao and Hmong immigrants from the United States, federal State Department officials confirmed Monday. … The proposal would apply to people who are not U.S. citizens and have standing orders of deportation issued against them. … The news surfaced last week after U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, DFL-St. Paul, wrote a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo voicing her opposition to the plan, which could result in thousands of longtime residents being sent back to the country of their birth.”

Less support for farmers. The Bemidji Pioneer reports: “House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., on Tuesday, Feb. 11, sharply criticized the White House’s proposed budget request for fiscal year 2021. … The budget includes a call for an 8.2% reduction in discretionary spending at the U.S. Department of Agriculture when the department’s field operations are significantly understaffed, as well as proposing billions in mandatory cuts to crop insurance, conservation spending, disaster assistance, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and other programs, he said in a news release.”

Reporting directly from quarantine. The Star Tribune’s Jeremy Olson writes: “Yulin Yin was just starting to relax and fall into routine on day six of his 14-day quarantine in San Diego — with the anxiety and jet lag from an evacuation flight out of Wuhan, China, behind him — when the Minneapolis man got the news that everyone on his flight feared. … One of the 167 evacuees on that flight ended up sick due to an infection of novel coronavirus. … ‘Now I just want to make sure I am healthy so I don’t bring the virus to Minnesota,’ said Yin, an IT professional. Yin, 48, was on one of five special flights that carried hundreds of U.S. citizens and immediate relatives out of Wuhan — the epicenter of the global coronavirus outbreak.”

In other news…

So where does the money go?Minnesota hospitals see margins slip below 2% mark” [Star Tribune]

Vote scheduled for next week:St. Paul teachers will vote on strike authority” [Star Tribune]

Scary:Employee taken to hospital after head gets stuck in mixer at Minneapolis bakery” [KSTP]

Losing their mojo?Mojo Monkey Donuts to cut hours to weekends only” [Pioneer Press]

Foul ball:Softball hits sprinkler, causes flooding at University of St. Thomas athletic complex” [KMSP]

You had onesie job:‘Minnesota Badgers’: Target Apologizes For Erroneous Onesies” [WCCO]

Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by Alan Nilsson on 02/11/2020 - 01:48 pm.

    The incubation period for covid-19 is, according to the Chinese health commission investigating the outbreak, from three to TWENTY-FOUR days: Not, as previously thought, fourteen days.

  2. Submitted by Thomas Quinn on 02/11/2020 - 02:18 pm.

    The Gold Line bus rapid transit line going down 94 between Woodbury and Saint Paul sounds like what they should have built down 94 between Saint Paul and downtown Minneapolis instead of the Green Line train. With one stop in Midway it could have really made a difference in rush hour 94 traffic.

    • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 02/11/2020 - 03:13 pm.

      Or just expand the freeways for less. Omaha has 4 to 6 lanes going both ways around the city on I580 and up to 10 or 11 lanes going each way on I-80 thru downtown and they don’t have traffic jams that I’ve ever seen even during rush hour. 94/494/694/35 are all way to narrow and have been from day 1. There should be 4 to 6 lanes each way all the way around and 8 to 10 lanes each way right down 94. MNDOT has the worst planners on the planet.

      • Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 02/11/2020 - 06:32 pm.

        Atlanta has 6-8 lanes in each direction throughout much of metro area. At peak hours they become a parking lot. For some reason, no one objects to long range regional planning for sewers, water, roads and even storm sewers but if it’s suggested that the privileged who get to move and live in these new suburbs use public mass transit, it’s all “oh-no-socialism.” It’s going to either be retrofitting the overextended suburbs to use mass transit or getting used to using the “expressway” to travel at camel caravan speeds to move around the area.

        • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 02/12/2020 - 06:14 am.

          Atlanta has close to double the population of the twin cities metro area (close to 7 million for the greater Atlanta area compared to about 4 million for the entire metro area). My example of Omaha (which has about 1 million in the entire area) was to show how poorly MN has planned it’s major highways for so long. 6 – 8 lanes in Atlanta isn’t enough obviously but it would very likely be enough for a smaller population like the twin cities.

          I’m not saying there aren’t uses for buses (which must have fares high enough to cover their own operating costs). It’s putting them on already congested highways and taking up lane space that cars could be using. The HOV lanes have always been basically empty compared to the rest of the freeway. Widen the highways first so car traffic flows smoothly then you can add in buses or separate bus lanes.

    • Submitted by lisa miller on 02/11/2020 - 03:50 pm.

      Exactly or instead of the SWLRT.

  3. Submitted by David Markle on 02/12/2020 - 01:31 pm.

    As I’ve pointed out several times in comments here, the Gold Line demonstrates our lack of sensible planning for metro-wide transportation. It was conceived and openly justified not to satisfy existing transit needs but to promote development: obviously to favor real estate interests, developers, and property tax-hungry municipalities.

    The project repeats the mistakes of the Green Linen where local and county officials hobbled LRT by insisting it run on University Avenue instead of along I-94. They did so in order to promote development at five intersections which, for that matter, has not proved to be particularly successful.

    In both of these cases, the Met Council should have put its foot down, but bowed to local interests and shirked its duty to the region

    The system need to be changed in favor of regional planning. We certainly do need better public transportation. I believe that step one should be direct election of Met Council commissioners. Obviously political appointment by the governor or by local officials doesn’t work!

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