Letters to the editor: Congrats, and thanks for support; Cost effective guideway infrastructure?
Congrats, and thanks for support
I want to congratulate Heather Hirsch on her win for a two-year seat on the District 833 School Board.
I want to thank all those who supported me in my campaign that came up just short.
I hope that the new members of the school board will consider some of the issues that I raised in the campaign, most importantly, the need to take more seriously the growing problem of chronically disruptive behavior and the very troubling effects this is having in our classrooms.
Further, I think the school board needs to seriously consider the impact of continual property tax increases has on those of lower income and/or retired folks living on fixed incomes, and who are struggling to get by.
Cost effective guideway infrastructure?
It's a pet peeve of mine that Commissioner Lisa Weik forgot to mention some key facts about the Gold Line (Gateway Corridor Project) in her Nov. 8 viewpoint. First, it was stated that the busway project is "cost-effective" but failed to tell residents that the estimated capital cost of the nine-mile project (that ends at the Woodbury 10 theatre) is $420 million in taxpayer dollars. That's $46.6 million per mile. How does that qualify as cost effective? Cost to build a mile of highway is about $10 million per mile.
Consider, for instance, the St. Croix River Crossing bridge, which cost $646 million to build but will carry tens of thousands of cars per day. The Gold Line might carry 2,400 passengers per day when at full capacity in 20 years. Next, she failed to mention the estimated operating cost of the Gold Line to be $5.1 million per year! It's a costly project.
It would be much more cost-effective to add a regular route bus, at no capital cost, along the proposed route and see if anyone rides it. How staff come up with projected ridership estimates are a mystery. Ask yourself if there is so much demand on the proposed route, why isn't there regular route bus service now?
Why not expand the wildly popular Express Bus to midday and evening service which would provide all day service at no added capital cost. Try this first before wasting hard-earned taxpayer dollars on guideway infrastructure.
The proposed Gold Line project is basically "light rail on wheels" and will slow down traffic at key intersections like Tamarack and Bielenberg drives, Bielenberg and Tamarack Hills and Fourth and Hadley, etc. As I drive around the Twin Cities, I see near empty Green Line and Blue Line trains; this is a huge investment to pay drivers to drive empty trains when demand is low.
The Met Council and Washington County have been struggling to implement outdated transit solutions of days gone by. Ask Commissioner Weik: 1. How does the county justify the project as cost-effective? and 2. Why they are not embracing digital and technological advances for travel?