Streetcars' Benefit "Elusive and Debatable," According to Study

Categories: Transportation

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Seattle Municipal Archives via Flickr
Will modern streetcars ever get built in the Twin Cities?
The case for streetcars took a pretty big hit this week when a Met Council study found measuring the economic impact of streetcars is "elusive and debatable" compared to other development incentives.

And streetcar critics have long pointed out they aren't any faster (and in a lot of cases slower) than buses while costing much, much more. Despite this, Minneapolis and St. Paul steadfastly cling to streetcar hopes while waiting for the Met Council to approve pending plans.

See also:
Minneapolis Officials Taking Heat for $200 Million Central-Nicollet Streetcar Plan

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Federal Funds Earmarked for Southwest LRT Yet Future Remains Murky

Categories: Transportation

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Photo by: Unsplash
A lawsuit, a divided state government, and D.C. budget wrangling leave the SW LRT line uncertain at best.

As a federal judge decides what to do with a Minneapolis citizens' group suit aimed at kiboshing the Southwest LRT line, the Obama administration further muddied the project's waters when it penciled in funds to start construction.

Included in President Obama's 2016 budget request, which was issued earlier this week, is $150 million to begin construction on the line next year.

See also:
Mpls approves Southwest LRT, paving way for legislature to wrangle over funding


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Metro Transit Ridership Highest in Decades [GRAPH]

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Michael Hicks via Flickr
Impressive ridership on the Green Line paved the way to a record year
In 2014 Metro Transit had its highest ridership in more than 30 years, with 84.5 million trips taken on either bus, train or light rail.

Couple that with the opening of the $80 million Target Field Station and $957 million Green Line connecting Minneapolis and St. Paul and that adds up to a pretty damn good year for public transit.

See also:
How Was Metro Transit Bus Service During Winter's First Storm? [GRAPH]

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Dayton to Park Board: Get Behind Southwest Light Rail or It'll Cost You

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Minnesota National Guard via Flickr
Dayton cranks up the heat on threats to SWLRT
The feud between Governor Dayton and the Minneapolis Park Board over Southwest Light Rail just got real.

Today as part of Dayton's $42 billion, two-year budget proposal he recommended slashing $3.77 million in state funding for the Park Board unless it drops its insistence on tunneling the tracks underneath the Kenilworth Channel.

See also:
Met Council Ignores Tunnel Drama, Presents SWLRT Bridge Designs

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Minnesotans Named America's Best Drivers

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Aaron Rupar
Really?
Here's another distinction Minnesota can add to its overflowing trophy case: A new study by carinsurancecomparison.com named Minnesota as the state with the best drivers.

We're guessing the study's authors have never navigated the 394/94 split heading into downtown Minneapolis.

See also:
Uptown-Area Wreck Propels Car Atop Fire Hydrant


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Letting Your Car Engine Warm Up Is a Huge Waste of Time and Money

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Pixabay
Quit idling and just let 'er rip
The practice of letting your car's engine "warm up" for a few minutes, allowing it to gracefully awaken from its arctic slumber, is deeply ingrained in the Tips That Help You Survive Winter everyone from Minnesota knows.

It makes sense, at least to people who know nothing about cars. It's like the mechanical equivalent to stretching before exercise. But studies done by both the United States and Canadian governments found cars don't benefit from idling at all.

See also:
Minneapolis City Council Passes 'Idling' Ordinance


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Franken Not Satified with Uber's Non-Answers About Privacy Policy

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screenshot of MSNBC
Franken is still hammering Uber over its privacy policy

Last month Sen. Al Franken took Uber to task over the tech giant's vague privacy policy, which was reportedly being abused by both employees and executives.

Franken used his position as chairman of a Senate subcommittee on privacy and technology to ask Uber a series of pointed questions, and yesterday he posted Uber's response, which answered none of them.

See also:
Al Franken Grill Uber Over Privacy Policy

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Southwest Light Rail Might Need More Local Dollars

Categories: Transportation

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Mulad, via Creative Commons
Obstacles continue to pile up in SWLRT's pathway to approval

Now it appears the federal government is pushing for a 60/40 local/federal split on funding for major transportation projects rather than splitting costs down the middle, which could create more problems for the Southwest Light Rail project.

A clause buried on page 1,461 of the 2015 federal budget bill passed by the House and Senate last week declared the new preferred guidelines for "New Starts" federal transit projects funded in 2015.

Yesterday the Metropolitan Council issued a statement pointing out that the preference toward increased local funding doesn't apply to SWLRT because it's fishing for dollars in 2016, but with anti-light rail Republicans in charge of the House and Senate it seems unlikely the guidelines will change.

See also:
Mpls Approves Southwest LRT, Paving Way for Legislature to Wrangle Over Funding

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Delta Launches New Fare Classes in Ongoing Campaign of Totally Boning Twin Cities' Flyers

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Courtesy of kads6488 at pixabay
Now coming to the friendly skies: steerage class.

If bitchy flight attendants, crushing bag fees, and draconian rule changes weren't already big enough daggers, flying Delta Airlines will now suck even more.

Delta, your hometown airline based out of Atlanta, introduced a new five-tier pricing structure slated to take effect March 1. Instead of offering just first-class and coach seating, Delta, which controls 75 percent of all flights at Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport, will now be divvying seats into five classes.

See also:
Delta Airlines' quality rating keeps losing altitude

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Met Council Ignores Tunnel Drama, Presents SWLRT Bridge Designs

Categories: Transportation

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Met Council
Top right: The channel as it is today. Other three presented as future options. Click for a bigger view.

The Met Council is not taking the Minneapolis Park Board's increasingly loud requests to send Southwest Light Rail trains underneath the Kenilworth Channel very seriously.

Yesterday it released three potential designs of a new bridge spanning the channel between Lake of the Isles and Cedar Lake, despite the Park Board's recent decision to drop $245,500 on a study looking at whether a tunnel is feasible there.

See also:
Condo Residents Disappointed, But Resigning Themselves to SWLRT Agreement

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