Mpls committee approves streetcar plan called "boondoggle of highest order" by Cam Winton

Mplsstreetcarrender1.jpg
Renderings released by city of Minneapolis
With a car driving down the train tracks along Eat Street, it looks like the engineers still have some work to do, doesn't it?
Yesterday, the Minneapolis City Council's Transportation & Public Works Committee recommended approval of a plan that would install a roughly $200 million, 3.4 mile streetcar line from Northeast to South Minneapolis.

SEE ALSO: Green Line test trains now running down University Avenue [IMAGES]

That sounds cool, but some, including mayoral candidate Cam Winton, argue the city would be much better off investing money in upgrading bus service instead of installing a more costly streetcar line along the bustling stretch of Central and Nicollet avenues extending from 5th Street on the north to 46th Street on the south, with a crossing above the Mississippi River along the Hennepin Avenue bridge. (The ultimate plan, as we detailed in June, is to extend the line more than five miles further north all the way up to 41st Avenue.)

During a hearing yesterday morning, Winton called the project a "boondoggle of the highest order." More from the Southwest Journal:
[Winton] noted that the streetcar line would cost about $52.9 million per mile -- higher than earlier estimates of around $40 million per mile. He criticized the plan for being more expensive and serving fewer riders than an enhanced bus line. He also suggested the claims about streetcars ability to generate new development in other cities can be attributed to tax-increment financing.
Indeed, according to MPR, bus enhancements down Central-Nicollet would cost about one-fourth as much as the proposed streetcar line.

But proponents of the plan argue it's about more than efficiency. During the same hearing, council member and mayoral candidate Betsy Hodges said, "Streetcars aren't just about getting from point A to point B. Streetcars are about economic development."

"They're about growing our population," Hodges continued. "They're about growing the services that go to that population and they're about growing our property tax base."

The Star Tribune details how the project would be funded, which still, in large part, remains to be determined:
About $60 million of [the approximately $200 million] will be funded by a state-approved "value capture district," which allows the city to redirect property taxes from several major development projects that are already underway across the city...

The rest of the funding relies on non-city sources that have yet to be identified. The mayor's office says that the Legislature must pass a transit sales tax in order for the plan to work.
Here's a couple more renderings showing how the streetcar would look running down Nicollet downtown and along East Hennepin in Northeast:

MplsStreetcarDT.jpg
MplsStreetcarEH.jpg

The plan will come before the full City Council next week.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.


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131 comments
Local Minnesota Music Blog
Local Minnesota Music Blog

Yes, they are more cost effective than light rail lines and expanding mass transit in the cities is something we should definitely be emphasizing.

George Bradshaw
George Bradshaw

Cities need public transportation to survive and grow.

George Bradshaw
George Bradshaw

We would have been better off today if we would have stayed with public transportation.

George Bradshaw
George Bradshaw

The streetcar system was made obsolete by Detroit and their need to sell cars.

George Bradshaw
George Bradshaw

I have been to a couple of the mayoral debates and in my opinion Cam Winton would let anything happen as long as it was funded by private money. Private money only funds things that are profitable, not what is good for all of the people or the community. Everyone needs transportation. The street cars were t

Eric Holmes
Eric Holmes

Norma we use 2 have them b4 we were born

agitprop
agitprop

I absolutely hated riding the 10. The only thing worse was biking down Central, which was terrifying. Stopped long before they marked off bike lanes, so perhaps things have improved.

Charles Schultz
Charles Schultz

How bout Money for education ? That would be great idea!

Sheepy T. Sheep
Sheepy T. Sheep

I'm wondering if my mother suggested this? She still talks about how she would go to the movies, have a hamburger, French fries, a shake and then take the street car all for a quarter.

Melissa Kimmerle
Melissa Kimmerle

you people need to STOP having 10 kids... leading to less people, thus less need for...anything (I.e., street cars). ugh. I can't wait until I'm do e with college... I'm going to run far, far away from the city..

Carla Mayer
Carla Mayer

And important to businesses and foot traffic.

Ryan Burke
Ryan Burke

YES! People do not understand how important permanent public transit is for the economy of a city.

Chris Kelly
Chris Kelly

because ya know, this would actually be useful

Chris Kelly
Chris Kelly

rather pay for this than a new vikings stadium

Nick Twist
Nick Twist

What would really be great is if they didn't rip out the old system because "They would be too expensive to maintain." Just so happens, our old cars are still running in Cleveland... Buncha crap

Ted1
Ted1

The plan needs refining, but nevertheless that Kmart needs to go.  Why on earth does Nicollet ave. stop because of a Kmart?  Not to mention that intersection is an eyesore in s. mpls.

Chad Liljegren
Chad Liljegren

We use to have street cars here in MPLS. You know why they got rid of them right? So why bring them back.

Dave2
Dave2

Doesn't anyone remember the old streetcars? When you were driving along  behind one you were at the mercy of the streetcars pace; when they stopped,  you stopped. When the streetcar went  you went, Traffic bottled up behind them; no way to get around. They got rid of streetcars because busses faciltated general traffic better. With todays city traffic streetcars would totally strangle any kind of traffic movement. We'ed be playing poker on the hoods of each others cars....Bikes, well, you could always carry them.

Evidentlyt Minneapolis is aflicted witrh too much money to spend. Why don't they just spruce up the schools or precinct stations, and fire stations? Or, they could  fix up the streets or repair aging water and sewer lines  before they break. But no, the political hopefuls always have to get their names on somethihng shiny and new.

Patrick Vehling
Patrick Vehling

Cars are SUPPOSED to drive on the tracks by the way. The tracks are in a lane of traffic, because a street car is essentially a car in this situation - it is supposed to stop at all stoplights and yield to all traffic.

Allison Gumm Lester
Allison Gumm Lester

$200 mill doesn't sound so bad when you think of all the people commuting into and out of the city as well as the rise in folks making Minneapolis their home.

Allison Gumm Lester
Allison Gumm Lester

Yes. I would like to see more light rail as well. The roads are parking lots.

Ran Dazzle
Ran Dazzle

ridiculous..how much money does Mpls think it has?

Erin Sayer
Erin Sayer

To everyone mad about this I ask you: Are you as mad about the $800,000,000.00 stadium as well? Because you sound like hypocrites when you complain about streetcars that will cost leass than a quarter of the stadium.

Nicholas S. Goers
Nicholas S. Goers

Oh that is too! Owners should pay for their own billion dollar stadiums, plus the Vikings suck.

Erin Sayer
Erin Sayer

And a new Vikings stadium isn't?

Carla Mayer
Carla Mayer

Less pollution in pedestrian areas. It's great.

Jill Marckel
Jill Marckel

Cam is a republican, correct? Figures he'd not like the idea.

Keith Morris
Keith Morris

For everyone saying this is a waste, why am I all but certain not a single complaint was made about the much, much more expensive highway projects out to nowhere? $35 million for a one measly highway interchange out in Anoka County isn't a waste? Oh, and as you can see in the link they want the state, mostly us bike/transit-riding city folk where the vast majority of people live in this state, to fund their wasteful unnecessary boondoggle. http://abcnewspapers.com/2013/09/20/state-funding-requested-hwy-10-interchange-ramsey/

_Joe_
_Joe_

@George Bradshaw I love this idea.  All the rest of you, please stop driving.

>:)

CinBlueland
CinBlueland topcommenter

@Allison Gumm Lester Allison.. $200 Million for 4 miles? That does not get anyone into or out of the city.

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

@Erin Sayer the vikings stadium is bullshit; however, the park they "say" they will build looks great and will improve downtown.

ziggy is clearly a scumbag and shouldnt be trusted. the public shouldnt be subsidizing billionares!

keny1
keny1

@Keith Morris 

Perhaps you should read the entire article, you fucktard liberal. 

The construction is necessary due to safety issues. In addition, do you know how many people use that stretch of highway 10 to commute to/from the Twin Cities for work? You know, those people who do something for 8 hours a day and get paid for it? You know, those people whose tax dollars pay for your welfare and subsidised choo-choo trains?

really
really

@Keith Morris nice logic. they're wasting money over there so it's ok to waste money over here. wow. 

Ted1
Ted1

@keny1 It must suck to live in your disgusting state of mind.

robbyrob79
robbyrob79

@keny1  That used to my my commute to work every day downtown and I'm none of those things.  Thanks for your prejudicial assumption though, it really shows what kind of human being you are.

robbyrob79
robbyrob79

@keny1  I don't understand your hate for anything that could improve the lives of anyone.  I guess you assume that no one in minneapolis has a job, works, or does anything like that.  That's a pretty small-minded way of looking at things.  I guess it makes sense why you live out in the suburbs, people are a lot more tolerant of your intolerance there.

MNjoe
MNjoe topcommenter

@keny1 @robbyrob79 Traffic congestion on Nicollet? WTF are you talking about? There's only buses, bikes, and taxis on Nic downtown and it's no worse that any other Mpls street where cars are allowed south of Grant. If you hate MPLS, why don't you move to one of the Dakotas or Alabama? Hey, there are less black folks there too - wouldn't your racist ass love that?

jason.dorweiler
jason.dorweiler topcommenter

@keny1 @robbyrob79 You fail to see the bigger picture here. (keny)

keny1
keny1

@robbyrob79

How exactly does this improve lives? All it will do is make traffic congestion on Nicollet even worse. 

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