Ed Maier, Sauk Rapids
Myth: Northstar is efficient.
Reality: Phase II of Northstar to St. Cloud is very expensive. It costs approximately $1 million per daily rider to build. The Federal Transit Administration could not justify the Phase II extension on its cost-benefit analysis. MnDOT’s Office of Transit estimates it is 85-percent taxpayer subsidized. Those advocating Northstar conveniently leave this out.
Myth: We cannot currently ride Northstar.
Reality: The Northstar Link Commuter Bus connects to all the Northstar trains. There is a free parking lot on Highway 10 S.
Myth: Northstar will increase economic development.
Reality: Our local cities and counties spend good tax dollars to get businesses to operate in this region. With businesses come a broader tax base and jobs. It’s counterproductive to spend millions of tax dollars to build Northstar and millions to subsidize its operation whereby we keep jobs in the Twin Cities.
Myth: Northstar could be used for pleasure trips.
Reality: Northstar is a commuter line with only a few trains going down in the morning and a few coming back in the evening. Unless your schedule coincides with the train you are out of luck.
Myth: Northstar is “green.”
Reality: Local jobs or working from home are the most “green.”
Myth: Northstar would help the poor.
Reality: Morally, Northstar is like Robin Hood in reverse. It taxes many to benefit a select few.
I believe the future and the environment would be better off to have less commuter travel, not more.