"No, this entire episode into the land of Casey Jones has been nothing but a Fool's Folly."
I could not believe it this morning. Another push by the people who want this "train to nowhere" built. Which one you might ask? I know, there are so many these days. The NLX. Or to be totally correct, the Casino Train. It is being sold as a wonderful new way to get up to Duluth. To that I say "Crap!". After this train stops at the second of two casinos, it will be all but empty.
The train fanatics were last seen working on the decision makers in Coon Rapids. Trying to get them on board. And why not? The city of Minneapolis is on board. And (here is the real surprise), the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe is also on board. Plus the train lovers have some good news. New estimates have been run. And these estimates are ALWAYS correct (sarcasm dripping off the page). If they cut the speed and the number of daily round trips down, this thing could almost pay for itself!
Excuse me while I laugh. I have seen this movie before. Like with the infamous North Star. It was going to be the best thing since canned beer. It would solve the traffic issues on Highway 10. It would cost the taxpayers a little bit to operate, but not too bad. Here are the facts. This train bleeds money (that be taxpayer money) every mile it travels. In fact it now loses more money than even the most pessimistic skeptic thought it would. And of course, none of the LRT choo-choo trains are breaking even. No, this entire episode into the land of Casey Jones has been nothing but a Fool's Folly.
Some might say, "Okay Mr. Smarty Pants. Then tell us what the real story is." Be happy to. The casinos have been behind this NLX from the get-go. As well as certain former civil servants who owns land on the route (and stand to make a mint).
Patrons would take a LRT or the North Star choo-choo to Target Field. Once there, stop at a watering hole to down a shooter or two. Get on the NLX and head north for the casinos. While riding on this 90 mph train, more drinks will be offered for sale. Get off at Hinkley flying maybe one sheet to the wind. Head to the crap tables or the one arm bandits. Spend a lot of money, get back on the train and head to Target Field.
So what in the world is wrong with this picture. First off, the casinos get a free source of transportation from the cities up to the casinos. They make out just fine thank you. The folks riding the train can get all liquored up and not worry about getting pulled over for a DUI on I-35. People who own land by train stops stand to make a mint from developers. Who does not make out then? Just you and me - the taxpayers.
Right now there is talk about the DFL going after some seats on the Anoka County Board. Even though this Board runs very well thank you, and the citizens of Anoka County have benefited greatly from their acumen, in the eyes of metro statists this Board is an impediment. A real roadblock to Met Council social engineering projects such as trains. If they can unseat some of the conservatives on the Board, then it will be full speed ahead for train rides to casino land!
Remember this when you vote in November. How you vote, and how long you sit in traffic, have almost a 1.0 positive correlation. If you vote for the train loving statists, a huge chunk of your transportation dollars will NOT go into roads and bridges. They will go into follies such as the NLX, North Star and LRT. If you vote for common sense conservatives, roads and bridges stand to gain. Daily commute time should be reduced. And trains that should die a quick death, will be allow to.