"Hopefully, this is the beginning of the end for this failed experiment with trains. They are trendy, very pretty, and prohibitively expensive. This is the start of the long good-bye for the North Star. Sorry you were such a dud."
Oh great! Is that old Bird picking on trains again. Does he not have something better to do, like clean out his sock drawer? Nope. Trains are my favorite folly to report and comment on. Why? They symbolize what is wrong with the largess of our government. Trains make no sense in these parts. None. Except to Euro minded Euphorians who have their heads up their .... (never mind).
First a bit of a confession. My wife and I were at the inaugural event for the North Star before it started regular service. Somehow our oldest daughter had wrangled a couple of tickets for us. In any event, the train was the bright, shiny new thing in town. According to its backers, it was going to change everything with our transportation flow coming down from the northwest suburbs.
The legislature did not have enough "juice" to get this thing funded all the way up to St. Cloud, like the vision was. And that is a very good thing. The North Star, which was going to take so much traffic off of Highway 10, the effect on rush hour would be same as if Highway 10 had an extra lane. Ha! Never happened. Not even close.
Here is what has happened. The North Star is a pig - a dog. Pick your animal. It is incredibly expensive to run. How expensive? About $40 per passenger to do a round trip from Big Lake to downtown and back again. But don't worry - the $40 is not picked up by the passenger - only a small portion. The rest is picked up by you and me.
This legislative session has a transportation bill which just might get signed by the Governor. It might as well be called the "Lanes not trains" bill. Yes sir re Bob! It is starting to "rightsize" many of our public transportation needs. And don't worry - Northstar is included. It will start with no more weekend service. Now that - is a move in the right direction.
Just to show you how much at odds the Governor's vision on trains is from the House, the Governor would like the North Star extended up to St. Cloud. That way instead of the taxpayers funding about $35 of each round trip, they can maybe fund $45. Sorry Governor - that ain't going to happen with this legislative session.
Hopefully, this is the beginning of the end for this failed experiment with trains. They are trendy, very pretty, and prohibitively expensive. This is the start of the long good-bye for the North Star. Sorry you were such a dud.