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LETTER: The true cost is always left out

State Sen. Susan Kent’s Viewpoint about what she names “wise infrastructure investments” confuses transportation (roads and bridges) with transit projects like the Gateway bus rapid transit (expensive projects that fund special interests).

I’m all for transit when there is truly a need and it’s a cost effective use of taxpayer money. But the Gateway Corridor is costing much more than the $3 million Washington County “wants” from the state legislature. As a matter of fact, when planners don’t get what they want, Kent just turns to the Met Council to satisfy the insatiable hunger for our taxpayer dollars.

The only cost estimate for the BRT that is easy to find is for the capital build cost of $485 million - - almost half a billion dollars to build a two-lane guideway for buses from St. Paul to Manning Avenue that may only remove 2 percent of drivers off Interstate 94 at most.

For comparison, the Red Line BRT in Apple Valley only moves 850 riders per day, and the St. Croix River Crossing Bridge will move tens of thousands of cars daily at a capital build cost of $900 million.

Kent conveniently neglects to mention the half-billion-dollar capital build cost for the BRT, as well as the ongoing expenses to operate, maintain, or replace the BRT, if built.

Furthermore, Kent leaves out the cost of feeder buses deemed essential to make the BRT successful. Is this because she cannot prove it to be truly cost effective?

For instance, users of I-94 come from many locations, use I-94 for distance and then continue on to various destinations. For these users to replace their trip with BRT will require them to both live and work near the BRT, or more likely, have other transportation for getting to the BRT to complete the trip. So, how efficient is that? And it most likely will take them longer to get to their destination.

So, once again, Kent has spent! Time Kent went!

Betty Marquardt