Friday, February 23, 2007

Pierre Bottineau should be light rail

The Twin Cities is already the best metropolitan for anyone to live in Midwestern America. But it lacks decent transit. This will have to be improved upon in the next 20 years for it to continue its high livability standards.

The Hiawatha Light Rail opened despite constant criticism from skeptics. It was touted by one Republican as the "train to nowhere." Yet it has achieved more than its proponents ever imagined. The University LRT will have at least twice the ridership of Hiawatha, and wouldn't started sooner if Hiawatha had not been such a success.

I believe in living carfree, and supporting the foundations of a post-oil world. But transit isn't just for those who choose not to own cars. 2/3 of bus riders and 80% of train riders own a vehicle. Transit gives drivers a break from not just high gas prices but stressful traffic and accidents. It would be wise to continue building a system that our citizens can be proud of.

That brings me to the Pierre Bottineau BRT project in northwest Hennepin County. I think it should be light rail, because it would have much higher ridership. There are more benefits to a LRT line than BRT. And the demographics of this area are ripe for a line. North Minneapolis and its adjacent suburbs do not deserve to be ignored in the future transit makeup of the Twin Cities. I would even consider moving to this area because it is more lower middle class. Without easy access to the amenities of Minneapolis I will not.

Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat agrees with me on this issue. A Republican who is a true conservative. Republicans can't continue acting as if the next 3 months are more important than the next 3 centuries. We need leaders who will work for a better future for our families. We need more true conservatives who understand the value of government and are wary of it being wasteful/corrupt.