Posts Tagged ‘rail’

A Higher Sales Tax for Trains?

Written by Jeff Johnson on February 17th, 2013. Posted in General

Board supports Dayton’s transit tax increase

The county board voted 6 – 1 this week to support Governor Dayton’s proposed 1/4 percent dedicated metro sales tax increase to further fund light rail, streetcar and bus systems in the seven-county metro area.  I was the “no” vote.

I have long questioned the wisdom and return on investment of light rail and commuter rail projects in the Twin Cities and believe it would be beneficial to the residents of Hennepin County if others on the board occasionally questioned their ROI, as well.  That’s not to say that I would never support a rail project, but rather would need to be convinced that the congestion relief it would provide would be even remotely commensurate with the tremendous price tag attached to the project – both to build it and to heavily subsidize its operation year after year.  But that’s a different blog posting…

Golden Hydrant Goes to $79 Million Interchange Project

Written by Jeff Johnson on June 29th, 2012. Posted in Golden Hydrant

“Signature” project and “iconic” public space = Bad news for taxpayers

This week, the county board voted to move forward with the $79.3 million Interchange project in Minneapolis – advancing an additional $22 million in property taxes to the project (on top of the $10.8 that HennCo property taxpayers have already spent), along with another $6.3 million from the county’s Solid Waste Enterprise Fund (fees assessed on property owners’  waste hauling bills) which, while not a property tax, is still taxpayer money.  I was the only “no” vote.  In my frustrated mind, this project deserves something even more special than a Golden Fire Hydrant – but I don’t have a platinum-plated or diamond-encrusted version of the Hydrant, so we’ll stick with the original.

This project is particularly frustrating to me because: 1. We are clearly spending much more than necessary on the project; 2. The cost skyrocketed over 30% overnight just a few weeks ago; and 3. County taxpayers are going to end up paying a much larger percentage of the overall cost than we originally promised.  AND, most importantly, we could see all of these things coming for at least the past year and just kept moving full speed ahead.

The Interchange (which has its own website and county staff) “will serve as a unique, multi-modal transportation hub and community gathering space in downtown Minneapolis.”  Here’s what it will look like: