"If a candidate tries to waltz you around the May Pole with a bunch of happy talk, send that person packing. We no longer have the time nor money to put up with fairy tales."
Aw, Bird! Are you going to talk about that boring business crap called "TCO" again? And put people to sleep? Why Bird, why? For starters, let me again refresh anyone who is not familiar with "TCO", what it means. Total Cost of Ownership. In other words, if you look at the cost of buying a car, a non-TCO approach would be to recognize just the cost of the car. A TCO approach to what the car would cost would also cover license tabs, gasoline, maintenance, insurance and depreciation.
I have been told by a detractor or two (when I harp on the Met Council) I don't know what I am talking about. Because I have never sat on this most evil Council. Well glory be! Today in the paper was an editorial letter penned by someone who sat on the Met Council for 18 years. Did this person defend all the bone headed decisions this Council had made, especially with regards to transportation? Nope - he told the emperor he was not wearing any clothes.
The editorial writer first lit into our most famous money hole - the Northstar. In his words, "the Northstar is an absolute disaster". Gasp! Really? Really. It only pays for a measly 10% of its operating cost and 0% of its capital costs. Then where in the heck does the money come from to operate this choo-choo? A money tree in St. Paul? Nope - the taxpayers back pocket.
LRT is not quite as bad as the Northstar. 30% of the operating costs come from user fees. The other 70% as well as all other costs come from - the back pocket of the taxpayer. But here is the money quote from the article. The ticking time bomb. The article goes on to state that right now equipment which is replaced is capitalized with the feds paying 50 to 90% of the capitalization costs. But there is no guarantee that will last forever. In fact, in this current environment, that could come to a screeching halt at any time. Then the taxpayers are stuck holding that bag also.
The article goes on to demonstrate how the state does not account for costs like a normal business does, and that is why costs are often times under estimated. In the real world, a finance person would be updating his or her resume should estimates such as these be presented to management. But in the world of make believe (that be the Metropolitan Council), this is just business as normal.
How do we get rid of this tribe of village idiots who are wasting billions of tax dollars on follies? One more time - WE NEED A CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR WHO CAN, ALONG WITH A REPUBLICAN LED SENATE, KILL THIS COUNCIL FOR ONCE AND FOR ALL!! It is as simple as that.
When the candidates come knocking at your door during the upcoming campaign season, be sure to ask the tough questions about transit in Minnesota. Arm yourself with the facts, the truth. If a candidate tries to waltz you around the May Pole with a bunch of happy talk, send that person packing. We no longer have the time nor the money to put up with fairy tales.