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Saturday, August 04, 2007

Will Road Warriors and PRTstas Try to Derail Transit in Special Session?

In response to the 35W bridge disaster, Governor Pawlenty renounced his pledge to not raise taxes and suggested he may order a special session to pass a gas tax.

If history is any guide, the folks who "don't want no choo-choo trains" will use the occasion to suggest that funding should be transferred from LRT and commuter rail projects such as Northstar and the Central Corridor to fixing automobile infrastructure.

Drew Emmer posts this letter at Wright County Republican:

Mr. President,

Your words of encouragement and prayers are appreciated, but going forward I hope in providing federal funding for rebuilding efforts you make clear that any and all federal funding is to be used for bridges and roads here in Minnesota.

As you may know leaders in Minnesota have of late been pre-occupied with diverting massive amounts of funding to the liberal, Utopian, pipe dream, boondoggle that is light rail. I would urge the feds to cancel any and all funding to Minnesota earmarked for light rail mass transit, and re-appropriate any such funding for bridges and roads. It is my understanding that during one of the last inspections this bridge scored 50 points out of a possible 120........that's a failing grade no matter how you look at it.

Please make clear to liberal, feel good leadership here in Minnesota, that wasting federal funding on costly light rail projects; as bridges, roads, and infrastructures receive failing inspection scores, is irresponsible, and a dereliction of duties.

Thank you;

Mark W.
Watertown, MN. 55388

Anti- transit sentiment isn't limited to the "no-choo-choo-train" right-wing Republicans.

When someone posted a Pioneer Press story on the E-Democracy Saint Paul forum about improvements needed to make the Washington Avenue bridge strong enough to support the Central Corridor LRT line, Green Party PRTista David Shove chimed in with this post a day after the 35W bridge collapse:

PRT pods weigh MUCH less (1500 lbs I recall) and so would require NO bridge upgrade.

LRT - the more it costs, the more the contractors and building trades love it. It's all about taking the money and running.

PRT, not LRT!

David Shove is also the editor of the Progressive Calendar and an outspoken supporter of convicted felon, Dean Zimmermann.

No doubt, rail transit will be bashed incessantly by right-wing, bible-hurling, gadgetbahning Rep. Mark Olson who Drew Emmer describes as an "honorable man".

Rail transit in the Twin Cities has survived the best efforts of such "honorable" men:

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DavidD said...

Since the federal government is approving the money to go to Minnesota, there ought not be any reason to transfer from LRT to the 35W project, unless we were to pass the $.05 gas tax increase and use it to repay the loan from the Central Corridor plan.

Let's say we needed $10 million in addition to the federal money and we needed it right now. Would it be okay to make a loan from the Central Corridor, or Twins Stadium fund to pay for it right now and then replace it with the tax collections over the next few years?

The biggest problem we are going to face, will be the issue of the Central Corridor going across the Washington Ave bridge. If it truly cannot sustain LRT, perhaps we ought to look at building a new bridge specifically for foot, bicycle and LRT traffic across the river.

Thoughts on that?