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Cravaack: High-speed rail from Duluth ‘does not make sense’

U.S. Rep.

U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack comes out strongly against plans for a high-speed rail line between Duluth and the Twin Cities in an op-ed piece in today’s Star Tribune.

His bottom line: It’s not worth the cost, considering the federal government’s financial problems and all the other infrastructure problems with crumbling roads and aging bridges.

He wants a first-things-first approach:

Backers of a high-speed rail line between Duluth and the Twin Cities claim the project would cost about $750 million, and they say the federal government could pick up 80 percent of the cost.

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Considering the federal government is already borrowing 40 cents of every dollar it is currently spending, the idea of adding more to our debt load doesn’t make sense.

We just averted a debt crisis, and the solution we reached doesn’t reduce our massive deficit — it merely slows its growth. We still have a long way to go.

The wisest course of action for us is to not spend money on a venture that can’t pay for itself. Instead, we must first attend to the crumbling roads, the bridges in urgent need of repair and the incomplete highway projects that we have throughout the state.

And he concludes:

Instead of pursuing a new rail line, let’s first spend our time, efforts and limited resources fixing what we have. Let’s complete the pending projects that have been identified as high priorities.

The idea of a high-speed commuter-rail line between Duluth and the Twin Cities may make economic sense in the future, but it does not make sense at this time.