Met Council okays University Ave LRT

By a vote of 15-2, favoring it over Bus Rapid Transit.

The latest cost estimate is $930 million. I say that light rail is certainly worth the expenditure, as a part of our long-term regional transit strategy. Face it, the best cities in the world all have massive mass transit infrastructure. But, given that the state can’t get the funds together for high priority highway construction, I’m a little concerned about funding. But projected construction isn’t until 2010.

Here’s another interesting factor:

State voters could also play a role in the project’s fate. The November 2006 ballot will ask Minnesotans to approve a constitutional amendment designating the state’s motor vehicle sales tax to be spent only on transportation. The measure would raise tens of millions of dollars annually, with 40 percent dedicated to transit.

Now, that makes perfect sense to me. Taxes tied to transportation ought to be spent on transportation. But I wonder what else that money goes to now that will need funding.

There’s some debate at MNspeak about alternative rail transit priorities. I agree that there are plenty of commuter rail options that make sense. And I believe there are proposals of some sort for a number of rail lines (e.g., commuter rail projects, Southwest Transitway, and I know I’ve seen others but I can’t find ’em at the moment). But I don’t think that any of those should be higher priority than this line connecting the downtowns.

Is it just me, or does MPR use this exact same graphic every time they run a light rail story?

Light Rail train

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