Feds Sign Commitment To LRT Funding

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Federal officials on Tuesday signed a formal funding commitment for the Central Corridor light rail line said to be the largest public works project in Minnesota’s history.

The federal government is providing $478 million for the 11-mile light rail line between downtown St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis.

The $957 million project is about 12 percent complete. The Met Council awarded construction contracts last year after local funding partners committed to the project. So far, it’s created about 570 jobs.

Trains are expected to run beginning in 2014.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Richard in Minneapolis

    HOORAY! For the price of one night’s barrage of cruise missiles in Libya we get a transportation system that will last decades. Finally an investment infrastructure that will benefit both cities.

    • brent

      I think you have it wrong Richard, we are not building a train to Libya. Just one in MN for us to use.

      • Richard in Minneapolis

        By both cities I meant Mpls and St.P. (Central Corridor) But the Federal portion amounts to what was spent on cruise missiles in a single night in Libya. I challenge people to tell me why the latter is a better use of funds than the former.

        • James

          I challenge you to tell me why my tax money should be spent hauling your butt between the cities. I’ll never ride it. I have no business paying for it. If you want a free ride, you buy your own train. It services 11 miles? Are you kidding me? Do you know how many people in this country will benefit from 11 miles of track between two decomposing cities for 1/2 a billion dollars of federal taxes plus another 1/2 a billion dollars in state funds?

          • Owen

            Get off your but and see the revitalization that is coming along the University Ave. corridor. When you drive down the road check out what is state aided roads. It may say it is a county road, but many are state funded. People pay for what you drive down without ever seeing benefit. People paid for your education without seeing benefit. Get a better argument.

  • Robert

    LRT is one of the best things that has happened to Minneapolis in a long time. I travel alot to/from airport. I always take the LRT. Instead of spedning $30.00 for a taxi, I’m saving $28.00 and there is less stress too.

    • tuna-free dolphin

      So glad you’re saving money Robert. But I hope you realize that it’s costing you and me a whole lot more than you seem to acknowledge. And as much as it costs the rest of us so you can get a three dollar lift to the airport, we aren’t exactly jumping for joy. The vast, overwhelming majority of us will never even have the chance or a reason to use it. So we don’t a warm fuzzy for subsidizing a tiny percent of the population’s travel.

      • Orville

        There are state aided roads by your house I will never go down. I am paying for that. There are many transportation projects that benefit only a small percentage of the population that are done. At least with light rail there is room for growth. The Hiawatha line would get more use if it ran across the river as planned.

        • tuna-free dolphin

          Yeah but countless tens of thousands of other people use roads and highways and are not limited by some stupid schedule or route that serves in tiny portion of the population. Plus the roads are actually wanted by the taxpayers. The cost/benefit figures are too embarrassing to discuss. No amount of spin is sufficient.

  • Paul H. Krumrei

    And as a disabled Veteran, it is very nice to be able to take the train to the VA via the Northstar Rail as well!

  • Lenny

    It shouldn’t take to long to pay off this nearly billion dollor boondoggle. Lets see if we charge each person $36,000 per ticket we should have it paid off in no time.

    • Alex V

      Highways are more heavily subsidized that rail is. Train tickets cover a lot more of the construction/operating costs than gas taxes and registration fees do.

  • ThothTheBuilder

    Ok I agree that LRT is needed but I also think that better planning was needed before the project took place. I live in Saint Anthony Park right off of University and navigating this area is a nightmare. It’s almost as if they are a bunch of kids playing in a gigantic toy box and we as residence are forced to deal with it. I believe that whoever is comtracting this project could have spent a bit more time engineering the actual construction. The other thing…they speak of the jobs it will bring without mentioning the businesses that are effected. So you create more jobs by destroying the American Dream, remember, Obama is pushing small biz ownership, I do believe projects like this contradict that objective.

  • You'll be sorry!

    As long as there is so much extra money in the budgets, I say let’s go on a spending binge! Half a billion dollars? That’s nothing! Why, I’m sure China or someone else (who cares) would be more than happy to loan us the funds. Oh, we don’t have any money? Then why are we spending like drunken sailors? Oh, to be a carefree Democrat and push it onto the next generation!

    • MARK

      Republicans are as much to blame for our financial problems as Democrats are. Anyone who doesn’t acknowledge that is blindly partisan and doomed to be unhappy when your side holds the power.

  • Ronald

    I cannot believe people use ‘job creation’ as a justification for these things. You raise Peters taxes $60,000 to pay Pauls $60,000 ‘job’. Thats called redistribution of wealth.

    • MARK

      No, that’s called “government.”

  • tuna-free dolphin

    Obama bounces another check on our account for $478 million. After bouncing a check for almost a trillion for the Stimulus bill, this doesn’t seem like much. But a half billion here, a half billion there, pretty soon you’re talking about real money. Kind of a lot for Mark Dayton’s new toy train set.

  • REALLY!?!

    We live in such a short-sighted society for those of you that don’t think LRT is a good thing. Really HOW MUCH IS IT COSTING YOU? Can you calculate EXACTLY how much is being taken out of your paychecks per pay period to pay for this? Thought not! But you have no problem driving to work as a single driver (not carpooling) and paying almost $4 for gas. And guess what you can actually calculate from your budget how much THAT is costing you more per month. This is why I’m going to start taking public transportation to work to save on gas – not that I couldn’t afford to drive but I’d rather save my money.

    • Paul H. Krumrei

      Plus you are making your carbon footprint smaller! Good for you! Having moved to where I can take the NS train into DT Minneapolis, I have saved $130.00 in parking fees and over $413 per month in fuel costs. Saving expenses in fuel, my car for repairs and also reducing emissions for the environment.

    • Doug

      I am with you, I will be riding my bike everywhere, work,grocery store and I will be shopping more locally, And the exercise wont hurt me either

  • Doug

    This the right direction we need to go in to get us a little less oil dependent, And I would like to see the light rail head toward the suburbs and more. This will be a better investment for the future. And we should but less money into roads for the automobile.The automobile has lived past it prime(over a hundred years)

    • Jackson

      Back to the Future. Makes sense, we can take horses to the train station.

      • Doug

        Why don’t you try a bike or walk the exercise won’t kill us

        • Jackson

          You ever live outside mineapolis. we have hundreds of thousands of little citys that need autos for transportation.

          • Alex V

            We should not be subsidizing sprawl. There should be property tax disincentives for any new development in the suburbs and especially exurbs. We should focus on a European style rail system, the best way to combat $4 or $5 gas is to create a transportation system where we don’t need to drive as much.

          • Doug

            That is why we need light rail everywhere along main roads like cedar, highway 52, highway 3, and any other main roads that are east west and north of the cities
            and we need to build better communities that are more contained or self sufficient.
            and for your cold argument that would be next from you dress warmer
            Yes I do live in the burbs do you want to try a different argument

          • Paul H. Krumrei

            Yes, but if you work in the city, it helps to have a rail system like the NS Train too! It should be in all directions within 50 miles of Minneapolis. Look at the L in Chicago!

            • Josh

              It cost 300 million dollars. With only 3400 daily riders so doing the math each rider (if they paid the full $8 fare is being subsidized $33 Million dollars each year. Northstar was a failure…I had hoped it would do well… but trust me you won’t see any more commuter rail projects in MN for a long time…if ever again.

              • Paul H. Krumrei

                Actually, the Northstar Rail is picking up a ton of new riders everyday. When I first started there would be a handful here and there. Every morning and night, the train is pretty much at full capacity. Not sure what you see, but it is picking up probably about 1000% in the last few months.

  • Paulie

    I just don’t see it. This makes about as much sense as the old emissions tests the state had a few years ago. I know it will convenience “some” but how will it benefit the society as a whole? Will this REALLY get the economy going or is it just a way to make certain people in our government look like they are accomplishing something? 11 Miles?!! Are you serious? How about using money like this to make daily commuting for the “working” class easier? I really don’t see this doing that at all.

    • Max

      How quickly people forget the spewing polluted messes that were on the road. When they got them off the road, they no longer needed the emissions test. Since the 16 and 94 are the most heavily used bus routes it would make sense for the LRT to be there for the working class.

  • Cache

    $43.5 MILLION DOLLARS per mile…real Bright…Stupid is as Stupid does! Lets see we are broke and Washington finds hidden in a closet all this money???????
    We might as well kiss our arses goodbye now….all I can say at this time is…Dummies, Dummies, Dummies, Dummies, Dummies, Dummies!

  • Doug

    How high does it have to go before people realize their addiction to oil? We need to get off the oil soon before it destroys our economy. We are the only country that has developed our infrastructure around the automobile, Europe has a lot of mass transit, and the third world will not even notice the oil gone since they don’t use it.

    Sorry cbs for sticking another news source in this story

    • lib

      Doug, the entire country of Germany is the same size as Minnesota, LRT does not make any sense for the size and population of Minnesota. I know you feel good that a whole eleven miles is now available for thousands of people to ride on, but seriously how many people a day will ride those eleven miles. It is a redistribution of dollars, $838,596,00 per job, looks cute, but that is it in a nut shell. Also, if we were allowed to drill for oil in Alaska, gas would become penny cheap. Big oil is who is against the drilling, this way they make great big bucks.

      • Doug

        You can drill all you want but when the oil is gone it is gone, then you can watch the USA collapse. it might not be in your future but My kids might have to deal with it. And I really don’t want then to go through that.
        So if you want to pay 4.00 to 5.00 a gallon go for it.
        And I wonder how many people like you use the light rail to go to the twins,timberwolves or viking games?

        • lib

          Sorry Doug, I’m not a sports fan, so I don’t need publicly funded stadiums either. As far as the future for your children not having oil, there is thousands of years of oil under Alaska, and it should bother you that your childrens future is in greater jeoardy from the debt,(fueled by overspending like LRT). We need to get out of debt in order to ensure that bill isn’t on the backs of our kids.

          • Jim

            “Also, if we were allowed to drill for oil in Alaska, gas would become penny cheap.”

            I was with you until I got here. Anyone who could type this sentence with a straight face has absolutely no idea what he’s talking about. Stop posting nonsense.

      • Richard in Minneapolis

        1. Germany is not the same size as Minnesota. It is closer to TWICE its size.

        2. LRT may not make sense for the size and population of MN, but it is IDEAL for the size and population of Mpls/StP.

        3. A thousand years of oil under Alaska? According to BP, Pruedhoe Bay contains close to 25 Billion barrels of oil, of which 13 Billion are recoverable with current technology, 11 of which have already been pumped, leaving 2 Billion barrels. The US consumes 20 Million barrels per day. Not all of this is taken from Prudhoe, but the output of the field is declining already. Punching more holes in an oil can doesn’t produce more oil – it just empties the can faster.

        4. No major oil fields have been discovered in the last 40 years. Prudhoe, North Sea, Gharwar, all 1960’s finds. The easy oil has been found. What is left is going to be expensive to get at.

        • tuna-free dolphin

          The people who drill for it and sell it don’t agree. And the gulf is full of oil, as is ANWR. There is oil in the Dakotas and further west and scads of it in Canada. And your chump in tha white hizzy won’t even allow them to explore for it, let alone drill it and get it. We have cans we haven’t even discovered much less punched.

          • Jim

            From US News and World Report: “The Department of Energy says there may be 18 billion barrels of oil in coastal waters, but they also say that drilling for it would not have a significant impact on production or prices until 2030.” Oil industry insiders “say drilling won’t ease the oil pinch.” Matthew Simmons, President of energy investment bank says, “It’s really misleading to hold that out as a panacea. It won’t work. It might work for our grandchildren.”

            • pitter

              US news and world report? spare me, you need to get your info from a more unbiased source. I personally think all the folks who are so conccerned about using oil and water and air and dirt and raising cattle, and who pull their hair out over human beings populating the earth, please, please, please take a cruise and jump off in the middle of the ocean. You would be saving the great devine earth and save the rest of us headaches. And if you don’t agree to take the cruise you are selfish Republicans, hate mongers and war mongers. If you really really cared about the earth you would put yourselves out of your misery so that the rest of us can get on with our lives and not have to spend great chunks of our incomes supporting boondoggles like LRT

              • Jim

                What an asinine post. People who disagree with you should commit suicide? Get a grip.

                To Republicans like you who see boogeymen in every closet, there is no unbiased news source beyond Fox. You deny the word of people who work in the industry full time because it disagrees with your preconceptions. Lame.

                • pitter

                  Jim if you want LRT why don’t you fund raise and pay for it? Why should people who will never ever use it pay this feel good expensive joke?

    • Peter

      You like Europe, move. This country is made of of millions of miles of roads with people living in big cities, little cities, rural farming areas, etc. The U.S. has one of the largest oil reserves in the world. What we need is to drill our own oil AND work on alternatives at the same time. The U.S.also has one of the largest natural gas reserves in the world. We can develope natural gas autos. You just can;t cut off the oil and expect this country to survive economically. This administration is destroying this country.

      • Paul H. Krumrei

        The administration? What like each Bush Republican has for the last how many years? Obama is just sweeping up the mess that Bush left behind. It list like getting divorced from a shopping maniac that thinks because there are checks in the checkbook that money is magically in the account! Take your politics elsewhere.

        • ohoh

          a trillion dollar stimulus belongs to Obama, look at a spending chart of the two presidents, and you will see nothing Bush spent even makes a dent where Obama’s spending is concerned.

          • SO SAD!!!

            Because Bush left everything for Obama to fix.

            • tuna-free dolphin

              So when’s he gonna fix something? Guantanamo? Iraq? jobs? The economy? Define your idea of fixing.

              • Jim

                Obama blew it with Guantanamo–he never should have said he was closing it. George Bush invaded Iraq and we can’t just ditch the country now. Presidents can’t create jobs–I didn’t blame Bush for unemployment numbers and I don’t blame Obama. The economy is better now than when Obama inherited it by any measure.

                So there you go.

          • Jim

            Bush started two wars and lowered taxes at the same time. This is the single most unethical and irresponsible thing a president has done in my lifetime. The current administration is spending money on infrastructure and improving the country and economy. The previous administration spent money on foreign wars that have turned into quagmires and cost the lives of thousands of young Americans, all the while lowering taxes for the richest Americans.

            • anchor

              What infrastructure? do you mean windmill farms? and are you so blind that you don’t see we are now in Libya and soon Syria? President Obama is a big spender and mostly on Big Unions, GE and Warren Buffett who he saved Billions for. Tell me someghing, if you are in debt do you keep spending? or do you stop spending?

          • Paul H. Krumrei

            That is because he let all the rich wall streeters and banks destroy the nation, including letting large companies like GM and other Automakers take jobs and plants outside the country, while getting a little stuffed pockets to turn his head. Obama is having to spend the money that Bush let slip right out the freakin door without batting an eye. Please….!

        • Peter

          YES ONAMA….His anti oil policy, his inflationary infusion of a trillion into the economy, his regulations strapping the coal industry, his indecisive policy in the middle east. Oh yes this is Obamas doing. He owns this economy with record unemployment, gas prices, people on the public dole, failing industrys, union bailouts, wall street bailouts, auto bailouts, usless housing programs, cash for clunkers, etc. etc. etc.

          • Gordon

            Check your unemployment figures, It tanked under George W and has been slowly crawling to the better. Check the inflation figures and other than 2008, the figures are not that much different than under the Bush administration.No union was ever bailed out, only banks and business. Get your facts straight before passing out information. Coal industry. Obama does not want to build more coal electric plants without stringent greenhouse emissions. Expanding the use of fossil fuel for electricity is not a long term solution anyway. The housing program is an attempt to stave off even more massive foreclosures. The artificially high price came courtesy of the previous administrations.

            • Peter

              You better check facts instead of reading dem talking points. Your wrong on every point gordo.

              • MARK

                Gordon’s post seems pretty accurate to me. Got anything to show he’s wrong? You deny that unemployment figures are getting better? You think expanding the use of fossil fuels is the best long term solution?

      • Dirk

        The oil in the field that is in the Dakotas is enough to supply needs for 5 years. Then what? How long will natural gas last? The selfishness of the people themselves is what is destroying the country. Choices to drive large gas thirsty vehicles without the need to have such large vehicles. Houses the size of mansions (Woodbury for example) The administration has said nothing of cutting off oil. As the world supplies dwindle it would be foolish to burn off all of the reserves without a plan B.. BTW it would not be a matter of liking the US over Europe or the other way around. The point was Europe has figured out ways to have mass transit and not have the attitude about it.

  • Tom

    If you for the LRT you are thinking of the future which is a good thing!

    If you are againest LRT then you are somebody who is happy with the status quo and want too keep things the way they are and your only solution you have is too keep repairing the same old road, etc. I call that wasting money.

  • Carl

    Not enough bang for the buck at present . Other things should take priority

  • Randy

    We need the LRT as much as we need a new Viking’s statium. I live in the burb’s and will never use it. What benefit is it to me. 1 billion would go a long way in repairing the rut filled roads we drive on now.

  • all for LRT

    Mark my words when we begin seeing gas prices escalating to 10.00 per gallon you will use it. the cenral cooridor will be the heaviest use line when it is completed with all of the Universities on that stretch. Much better to spend money on moving people around than on cruise missles and bunker buster bombs to kill people.

    • tuna-free dolphin

      Oh really? I live in Minnetonka and work in Bloomington. Where pray tell, do i catch this magic money saving train. And will it pick me up at my door and get me there tens minutes early or do I have to still drive my car ten minutes and stand in the rain and then walk two miles from the stop to work? Does it stop outside my job at five after 3 or do i get to enjoy the weather and walk to the stop and stand around waiting to get mugged by a gang-banger at the mall. you LRT types are morons without equal.

      • Jim

        So your argument against LRT is that you might have to walk a couple blocks? Wow. You really demonstrate the kind of selfless sacrifice we Americans need to win the future!

        And FYI, calling people who disagree with you “morons” is a real winning strategy. Keep it up!

        • tuna-free dolphin

          A couple of blocks?!?!? Did you read my post? There IS no train for me, you imbecile!
          Winning the future? While I wait at the light each day for the excruciatingly slow train to pass, during rush hour no less, I count five train cars and even fewer riders. Real efficient use of energy. Way to save the planet and win the future. I could use less energy by driving myself to work in a school bus, and get there quicker. But those are just numbers, and they have no bearing on people in fantasy land.

          • Jim

            “Numbers?” LOL. Where? You made up some stuff about how slow the train is, made a ridiculous comment about driving yourself to work in a school bus, and called me an imbecile. You must have been a valued member of your debate team in high school.

            Not everyone will be able to ride the train from day one and save themselves time and money. No one is arguing that the train will pick up every Minnesotan at their front doors and drop them at their places of business. But just because you don’t find it convenient doesn’t mean others don’t and it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it. Alternative energy and transportation is a necessity, like it or not.

            • tuna-free dolphin

              First correct thing you’ve said and I agree. Not everyone will be able to use the train. In fact comparatively speaking almost no one will be able to use the train. For a number of seemingly obvious reasons. Count the cars that whiz past you on the highway some time and just guess-timate how many people run up and down one of our more busy stretches to work and back each day. Now count the number of seats/train cars needed to haul say a tenth of those people. Now tell me if there are enough trains cars in the world to do the job. Then figure the energy it takes to run those trains, which I’m guessing is not a small amount. It may not be gas but it is energy, and it has to be produced by sources which pollute. Now explain to me how it would cost less energy to haul four people in 5 train cars than 1 guy in a bus. As many times as I’ve seen the trains, I’ve never seen more than a few people on one. I’m telling you this and you can believe it. LRT is extremely expensive, supremely wasteful, inefficient, and inconvenient for the vast, overwhelming majority. There is nothing green about it. And I would say that even if the train picked me at and dropped me off at my door each day at exactly the right time. But of course it doesn’t. The miniscule number of people it serves doesn’t justify the cost. Do the math.

    • sad

      ohohohohohoh the sky is falling, the sky is falling, the sky is fallilng!!

  • times gone bye

    They should have never destroyed the vast trolley system that was used by practically everyone. It’s tragic that Thomas Lowery’s wonderful achievement is gone. In hindsight we sometimes see the errors of our ways.

  • Eli

    To times gone bye. I,m 53 yrs old and grew up at the Edina, St Louis Park, Morningside corner of town. My mother told me all about the downtown trolley, and that it ran out to the suburbs. I grew up playing on the burms that ran thru Todd Park and Minnehaha creek and pond, that the tracks were on. They followed 44th St from Mpls. out to Hopkins. Mom always felt that some one got their hands greased well for the removal of that system. Nothing New Under The Sun.

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