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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