Viewpoint: Cautious about ‘light-rail bandwagon’Speaking with fellow Woodbury residents during my campaign for the Washington County Board of Commissioners, I have heard repeatedly that they do not want Washington County tax dollars spent on light-rail for Minneapolis.
By: Lisa Weik, Viewpoint Writer, Woodbury Bulletin
Speaking with fellow Woodbury residents during my campaign for the Washington County Board of Commissioners, I have heard repeatedly that they do not want Washington County tax dollars spent on light-rail for Minneapolis.
Even if you think light-rail is worthwhile, the earliest schedule has neither light-rail nor commuter rail anywhere in Washington County until 2030.
To put this in perspective, a child born this year will still be waiting for the train when they graduate from college.
I appreciate long-term planning, but a more pragmatic and sensible approach would be to rescind the quarter-cent sales tax and return the $5 million dollars generated annually to Washington County residents and instead fund our transportation options locally via Washington County — not a joint powers board controlled by Hennepin and Ramsey counties.
I am very pro-transit. My husband, Phil, takes the express bus to work in Minneapolis almost everyday.
I support expanded bus service in and around Woodbury, including suburb-to-suburb bus service that will bring continued economic development to Woodbury far sooner than 2030.
The proposed super-transit hub on the I-94 corridor in Lake Elmo offers the convenience of retail services alongside parking ramps. This is an example that makes sense, is more flexible, and far less costly.
Metro Transit bus service offers flexible routes that change with fluctuations in demographics versus expensive light-rail train lines that are cost-prohibitive to build and operate with immovable routes.
Plans change. Demographics change. Traffic patterns change. For example, the city of Woodbury has rightly chosen to postpone the extension and widening of Valley Creek Road into the Stone Mill Farms neighborhood due to unforeseen declines in traffic volumes.
I am very cautious about jumping onto the light-rail bandwagon in the feel good name of “transit,” only to commit countless millions of taxpayers’ dollars when it could become just another expensive government boondoggle.
My concern is that Woodbury residents will end up paying for light-rail train lines that almost exclusively benefit Minneapolis with nothing on the horizon for Washington County.
Woodbury residents would benefit from rescinding the quarter-cent sales tax and funding our transportation options through Washington County.
With the passing of the recent transportation bill Washington County will be receiving almost $60 million in additional dollars from the State of Minnesota over the next ten years to spend as the Washington County Board sees fit.
I will make sure that money is spent wisely. I am the only candidate that has committed to both rescinding the quarter-cent sales tax increase and holding the line on property taxes for 2009.
I can be reached at (651) 714-1599 (home) and through www.weik4commissioner.com.
Weik, a Woodbury resident, is a candidate for Washington County Commissioner, District 5.