Southwest LRT: Daudt is wrong about efficiency and costs

Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt has been unapologetic about his resistance to funding Southwest LRT. Even when members of his caucus were open to making the deal, he stood firm. He has committed himself to killing the project. He believes that SWLRT and rail transit in general are overpriced, inefficient, and a waste of taxpayer dollars. I beg to differ. The facts beg to differ.

From the beginning there has been ample evidence that the subsides for rail per rider or trip are cheaper. According to a University of Minnesota study, $1.44 per passenger for rail with construction costs, $2.17 for buses including 1 lane, and when you include the cost of the roadways, maintenance, and police, the cost for highways is estimated at $2.56. There is a good summary here.

The thing is, we are already well into this project having spent millions of dollars on studies, engineering and design. All of that would go to waste. Not to mention the over $900 million that the federal government would be spending on this project. Dollars we have paid to the feds and would like to get back — spending them in Minnesota, not someone else’s LRT system. And it’s not like the whole state has to make this investment. The bills blocked would use metro area taxes to complete the funding.

I don’t live in speaker Doudt’s district, but if I did, I would not vote for anyone who wasted my tax dollars on such a personal vendetta.

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Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/29/2016 - 02:09 pm.


    It’s way past time that the “business” community ends it’s affiliation with the republican party now that republican party leaders have finally revealed their irrevocably incoherent resistance to any sound policy initiatives. Turns out that simply opposing new taxes of any kind in service of spending neutral fantasies is little more than financial incompetence combined with vacuous leadership.

    Republican opposition to “choo choos” has always been irrational and damaging to economic growth and vitality. It’s particularly bizarre when anti-choo choo republicans claim that trains are older technology than roads. When history, reason, and integrity succumbs to anti-tax ideology the result can never be good.

  2. Submitted by Gary DeVaan on 07/01/2016 - 01:43 pm.

    Did this issue scuttle the special session?

    I suspect because speaker Daudt is so adamant against SWLRT, this is the reason there was no agreement for the special session. He is turning his back against his own constituencies in order to have his way. He should not be reelected and if he is he should not be in leadership.

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