Minnesota rail advocates make pitch to Ramsey County

Full story: TwinCities.com

If the state and federal governments help build a Rochester-to-Minneapolis or Rochester-to-St. Paul high-speed rail line, the train would do what few other public transit systems around the country have been able to accomplish without public subsidy, and that's pull a profit.

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huh

Saint Paul, MN

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#1
May 19, 2011
 

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This line from Rochester to the Union Depot makes sense.

“I am always right.”

Since: Oct 09

Former MN Taxpayer

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#2
May 19, 2011
 

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Youbetcha.

We need another choo-choo train in Minnesota that requires billions in start-up costs and millions in annual subsidies.
Hawkshaw

Inver Grove Heights, MN

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#3
May 19, 2011
 

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IrishMN wrote:
Youbetcha.
We need another choo-choo train in Minnesota that requires billions in start-up costs and millions in annual subsidies.
Are you questioning the wisdom of the state and federal government or the naďveté of the tax payer or both?

“I am always right.”

Since: Oct 09

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#4
May 19, 2011
 

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Hawkshaw wrote:
<quoted text>
Are you questioning the wisdom of the state and federal government or the naďveté of the tax payer or both?
A. The lack of wisdom of the State government.
B. The lack of wisdom of the Federal government.
C. The moocher mentality of Minnesota citizens for "free stuff" from the government.
D. All of the above.

The answer is D.
Cents on dollar invested

Minneapolis, MN

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#5
May 19, 2011
 

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huh wrote:
This line from Rochester to the Union Depot makes sense.
Startup will be BILLIONS, annual subsidy will be HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS.

ROI -42354%
Not Metro Transit

Saint Paul, MN

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#6
May 19, 2011
 

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Good idea! But not with Metro Transit and/or Met Council!!! All that will do is cost us 75% more than if the private sector ran it. Met Transit would just hire dozens more of high paid management to the “Good Old Boys Club” and spend hundreds of thousands of taxpayers’ money on wasted endeavors. They do not know how to run a business efficiently and effectively. Why don’t we have the railroad build and operate it, they have been in the people moving business since the old west, they kind of know what they are doing.
Bob

Lombard, IL

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#7
May 19, 2011
 

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If they're going to push antiquated technology, why not the horse and buggy?

It uses renewable resources.

Since: Jul 10

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May 19, 2011
 

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Not Metro Transit wrote:
Why don’t we have the railroad build and operate it, they have been in the people moving business since the old west, they kind of know what they are doing.
Because they won't run it, since they know that they cannot make a profit doing so, when they have to compete against the highly subsidized roads & planes. That's one of the rasons why they got out of the passenger business in the first place.

Now if the taxpayers want to guarantee a profit to their company, then they'll be happy to build and run the service. But otherwise, it's not happening.

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#9
May 19, 2011
 

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Bob wrote:
If they're going to push antiquated technology, why not the horse and buggy?
It uses renewable resources.
There is nothing antiquated about the technology in trains today; in fact, they're more modern than your car.

Of course if you want to give up your car, the horse & buggy is the alternative seeing as how it was replaced by the car.
Bob

Lombard, IL

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#10
May 19, 2011
 

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ahblid wrote:
<quoted text>
There is nothing antiquated about the technology in trains today; in fact, they're more modern than your car.
Of course if you want to give up your car, the horse & buggy is the alternative seeing as how it was replaced by the car.
You are incorrect.

The only reason trains exist is that the steam engine was invented before the internal combustion engine. Trains are a technical anomaly, a throw back to the days of yore when there were no better alternatives.

Today we have better alternatives. For mass transit, buses are superior in every single way except in creating jobs for jack-booted union thugs.
AMX

Saint Paul, MN

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#11
May 19, 2011
 

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I support trains/mass transit. I am 100% against Central Corridor. Too slow, to crammed, not too impressive. What we should have done/be doing is building trains that can go 60-80mphs in rush hour right down the interstate or right next to it. Imagine a train that went down i94/i394 from Hudson to Minnetonka with only a half dozen or so stops (Hudson, Maplewood, Downtown Saint Paul, i94 at Cedar or Huron, downtown Minneapolis, i394 at 100 and then out to the lake). That is forward thinking. That will help average people get through rush hour. I dont know one person who lives outside of the two hub cities that will ride the central corridor. Next, same thing down the i35e/w system. Forest Lake to Lakeville. Throw in a highway 61 line in east metro and highway 100 or US 169 in the west. Then, finish it off with a bullet train that goes around the i694/494 loop. I know it would take a few decades. But, that is the answer. Slow moving trains through residential and commercial zones does nothing for mass transit.

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May 19, 2011
 

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Bob wrote:
<quoted text>
You are incorrect.
The only reason trains exist is that the steam engine was invented before the internal combustion engine. Trains are a technical anomaly, a throw back to the days of yore when there were no better alternatives.
Today we have better alternatives. For mass transit, buses are superior in every single way except in creating jobs for jack-booted union thugs.
No Bob, I'm sorry, I'm 100% correct.

Today's trains stop themselves if the engineer has a heart attack, dies, or is otherwise incapacitated. Your car can't do that!

Today's trains will stop themselves before the engineer can even run a red light. Your car can't do that!

Today's trains will stop themselves if the engineer fails to slow down for a curve. Your car can't do that!

Today's trains are far more modern and computerized than your car!

Next, buses are the worst form of mass transit. And if you're a union hater, which is what it sure sounds like, then you've backed the wrong horse; buses are the best way to increase the size of those unions!

Case in point, Salt Lake City. In 2009 they moved 20.6 million rides via buses and 13.4 million rides via light rail. To do that they needed 371 buses on the road every weekday and every one of those buses needs a driver. Two in fact, since you need two shifts to cover the full day. That's 742 bus drivers. They actually own 501 buses, which means about half of the 130 or 65 of the not in service buses are in the shop for work. That means mechanics, at least 1 per bus and in many cases 2 per, but I'll low ball it with 1. That's 65 mechanics, assuming only 1 shift. Odd are good that they have two shifts, but I won't go there either.

A look over at light rail shows that they own 55 light rail cars and they put 43 cars into service each day. Under normal circumstances, 2 cars are coupled together requiring 1 operator. With 2 shifts, that's 44 operators. Put half the cars not running into the shop and I'll even be generous and assign 3 workers per car, that's another 18 workers.

So to review and not including mechanics or backup workers to cover sick & vacation time, light rail has 44 union employees to move 13 million rides. The buses have 742 union employees to move 20 million rides. So they need 698 more employees to move an extra 7 million rides.

Or to put it another way; for every 27,840 bus riders they need 1 driver. For every 304,208 light rail riders they need 1 operator.

And you think that rail creates more jobs? I don't think so! In fact it's the buses that win in that category, while losing in every other category.

For example, in this country according to the National Transit Database for 2009, it costs 90 cents to move 1 person 1 mile on a bus.

Put that person on a light rail train and it costs 60 cents per passenger mile. Put them on a heavy rail train (subways & L's) or a commuter train and it only costs 40 cents per passenger mile.

And a big reason for the way those numbers come out is all the extra employees needed for the buses.

In 2009 bus riders paid 26.72% of their operating costs via the fare box; rail riders averaged 52.04% of their costs.

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May 19, 2011
 

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AMX wrote:
I support trains/mass transit. I am 100% against Central Corridor. Too slow, to crammed, not too impressive. What we should have done/be doing is building trains that can go 60-80mphs in rush hour right down the interstate or right next to it. Imagine a train that went down i94/i394 from Hudson to Minnetonka with only a half dozen or so stops (Hudson, Maplewood, Downtown Saint Paul, i94 at Cedar or Huron, downtown Minneapolis, i394 at 100 and then out to the lake). That is forward thinking. That will help average people get through rush hour. I dont know one person who lives outside of the two hub cities that will ride the central corridor. Next, same thing down the i35e/w system. Forest Lake to Lakeville. Throw in a highway 61 line in east metro and highway 100 or US 169 in the west. Then, finish it off with a bullet train that goes around the i694/494 loop. I know it would take a few decades. But, that is the answer. Slow moving trains through residential and commercial zones does nothing for mass transit.
AMX,

Actually, you need both. You need the type of trains you're describing to get people from the burbs into the cities and then you need Central link to disburse them within the cities.

This is how many cities work these days.

“I am always right.”

Since: Oct 09

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#14
May 20, 2011
 

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ahblid wrote:
<quoted text>

This is how many cities work these days.
New York, Chicago, Boston. All are bordered by large bodies of water that restrict inflow. Trains work there. Massive amounts of people being funneled into a very small are with restrictions on the flow patterns into the city.

The Twin Cities have a far different lay out than any of the above. Plus a majority of people commute from suburb to suburb in the Twin Cities rather than into the central city. Busses are a far more effective means of mass transportation due to their flexibility.

This is a feel good project for the politicians and the social engineers.
hobie2

Minneapolis, MN

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#15
May 20, 2011
 

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The object of public transportation is not to
"pull a profit". It is to provide transportation and minimize impact on the existing infrastructure.

Since: Jul 10

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#16
May 20, 2011
 

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IrishMN wrote:
<quoted text>
New York, Chicago, Boston. All are bordered by large bodies of water that restrict inflow. Trains work there. Massive amounts of people being funneled into a very small are with restrictions on the flow patterns into the city.
Funny, but I don't remember mentioning any specific cities. I just said "many cities". But fine, let's play the game. Boston, Ok, large body of water there. Chicago too. NY, not so much. Yes, Manhattan has two rivers around it, but plenty of bridges & tunnels too. And you can enter it from the north, south, east, & west.

Then there is Philly, DC, Atlanta, St. Louis, Dallas, Houston, Denver, Phoenix, Sacramento, and Portland; all of which don't have "large bodies of water" on one side of them.

And in many cities, while a majority may be traveling to the city center, there is plenty of cross traffic too. The Long Island RR moves about 300,000 rides per weekday of which about 240,000 actually go to Manhattan. DC is currently planning the purple line, a light rail line that will never go downtown, but instead will essentially follow the beltway.
IrishMN wrote:
<quoted text>The Twin Cities have a far different lay out than any of the above. Plus a majority of people commute from suburb to suburb in the Twin Cities rather than into the central city. Busses are a far more effective means of mass transportation due to their flexibility.
As I pointed out above, unless you actually like paying more, buses are never more effective. This is not to suggest that buses have no role in the public transportation mix. But their primary job should be to serve the small streets and cul-de-sacs as it were and transport the people living there to a train.
IrishMN wrote:
<quoted text>This is a feel good project for the politicians and the social engineers.
I've no doubt that anyone riding the current light rail line would feel good if they learned that they were saving the taxpayer's money by riding that instead of a bus. The average ride on a Metro bus (operating - fares) costs the taxpayer $2.46. The average ride on light rail costs the taxpayer $1.53.
Whatever

Las Vegas, NV

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#17
May 20, 2011
 

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Cool! I love expensive $h*t that nobody actually uses.

Awesome idea.
print more money

Minneapolis, MN

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#18
May 20, 2011
 

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US Finances Rank Near Worst in the World: Study

The US ranks near the bottom of developed global economies in terms of financial stability and will stay there unless it addresses its burgeoning debt problems, a new study has found.

In the Sovereign Fiscal Responsibility Index, the Comeback America Initiative ranked 34 countries according to their ability to meet their financial challenges, and the US finished 28th, said David Walker, head of the organization and former US comptroller general.



http://www.cnbc.com/id/42246531





at least we'll have high speed trains to take us to hell in our handbasket.

Since: Jul 10

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May 20, 2011
 

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Whatever wrote:
Cool! I love expensive $h*t that nobody actually uses.
Awesome idea.
Funny, American's took more 4.473 billion rides on all types of trains in 2008. That represents an awful lot of "nobody's" riding trains.

Since: Jul 10

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May 20, 2011
 

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print more money wrote:
US Finances Rank Near Worst in the World: Study
The US ranks near the bottom of developed global economies in terms of financial stability and will stay there unless it addresses its burgeoning debt problems, a new study has found.
In the Sovereign Fiscal Responsibility Index, the Comeback America Initiative ranked 34 countries according to their ability to meet their financial challenges, and the US finished 28th, said David Walker, head of the organization and former US comptroller general.
http://www.cnbc.com/id/42246531
at least we'll have high speed trains to take us to hell in our handbasket.
Blame our highways for that fiscal position!

Not only have we borrowed billions to support our highways,$62B in just the last 3 years; but the Federal fuel tax was diverted from its original purpose in 1956 to build the highways. Had Congress and President Eisenhower not diverted the fuel tax to build Ike's dream, it would still be doing what it was supposed to be doing, helping to pay down the national debt.

For that matter, the highway act from 1956 intended the fuel tax to revert back to its original purpose in 1972. Instead, Congress continues the diversion because we drivers refuse to pay fully for that which we use.

Had all that money gone where it was intended, when President Herbert Hoover first imposed it in 1932 to help pay down the debt, our national debt would probably be lower by at least $2 or $3 trillion, if not more.

Want to help start fixing the National debt problem? Start demanding an increase in state gas taxes so that the Fed can stop the subsidies to the highways.

And for that matter, had we not subsidized our roads, trains would probably still be privately owned and not requiring subsidies. Taxing the RR's to help build the highways didn't help either.

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