FFM Bulletin 7/14/11

St. Paul’s streetcar with no desire

What’s the best way to relieve traffic congestion and provide access to the light rail in St. Paul? According to members of the St. Paul City Council, we need to install a citywide streetcar system. 
Last week the St. Paul City Council voted to apply for a $200,000 federal grant for streetcar planning. The grant could trigger a $50,000 matching grant from the city, Ramsey County Regional Rail Authority, and other transit organizations.
As of now, the city does not have specific route plans, though it would almost certainly connect to the light rail currently being constructed. According to the Pioneer Press, the $250,000 in planning funds will be used for “educating the public about what a streetcar is and is not,” while a consultant would develop the “long-term vision” of the proposed St. Paul trolley system.
There is no word yet on whether the initial route planning studies will take into account the skyway systems and their interaction with the overhead catenary wire systems used to power modern streetcar lines.
Though merely in the planning stage, some residents have already begun to speak out against the project and its supporters.
“Just when I think our "leaders" can't possibly be more out of touch with the citizenry, they surprise me,” said one St. Paul resident in a recent letter to the editor.
Unfortunately for taxpayers, their city leaders seem determined to extract more tax dollars from city, state, and now federal taxpayers for even more questionable transit pet projects, even if the projects resemble technology from the 1800s. 

FFM in (shutdown) news

Freedom Foundation staff members have recently been prominently featured in local news outlets discussing the state government shutdown.
  • FFM Investigative Director Tom Steward’s op-ed was featured on Minnesota Public Radio over the weekend.  His column explored how “budget Band-Aids,” like the one-time payment to states in the federal stimulus plan, led us into our budget mess.  From the piece: “Not only is Minnesota failing to reign in spending like the vast majority of other states, but we're also laying groundwork for future budget cycles to be equally dysfunctional.” Read the entire piece here.
  • A recent Star Tribune column featured an interview with FFM CEO Annette Meeks on political life after the shutdown and whether the shutdown will affect the way legislators do business in the future. The opinion column includes a great quote from our CEO: "Everything will change in the next 20 years, and government simply has to change, too." Read the entire piece here.
  • Tune into “At Issue” this Sunday at 10:00 AM on KSTP Channel 5 to see FFM CEO Annette Meeks discussing the latest shutdown developments.
Be sure to check out the “FFM in the News” section on our website to find all the latest appearances from us. 

Minnesota State News update

MN State News (www.mnstatenews.com) has been busy covering the latest breaking news coverage of the state government shutdown, including theimpact of the shutdown on the private sector, a review of the budget situation, Dayton reluctantly accepting the GOP 6/30 budget offer, and many more.
Also, be sure to keep checking in on our daily Shutdown Roundup that features local, state, and national stories on the state shutdown. And as always, be sure to tell your friends about MN State News, follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook!

Local Government Accountability (LGA) stories

Looking for a rundown of interesting local government stories around Minnesota? Then visit our newest feature on the FFM website that brings to light some of the best and most interesting news from local governments from across the state.
Our latest batch features an update from Fairmont and a very expensive tree, money being saved in Littlefork and St. Cloud, privatization of services in Benton County that will save taxpayers serious dollars, and others. 


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