--A month into Metro Transit’s marketing experiment that cut fares with the hope they would add passengers to the flailing Northstar Commuter Rail line is not working. Initial monthly passenger counts indicate that the experiment may be heading full speed in the wrong direction. Metro Transit figures obtained by the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota (FFM) for the first month of the experimental fares indicate that monthly Northstar ridership plunged by more than eight percent , some...
Does New Transportation Bill Derail Billion Dollar Twin Cities to Duluth NLX Passenger Rail Line? The federal transportation bill that finally became law last week keeps the wheels on highway funding, construction jobs and public transit programs, but appears to derail passenger rail projects like the proposed $1 billion Northern Lights Express (NXL) line from the Twin Cities to Duluth—at least for now. The development bolsters the recent decision by the&...
Reclining seats, reading lights, plug-ins for laptop computers and other amenities. No wonder a survey of Northstar passengers yielded a 94 percent satisfaction rating. However, those glowing responses came not from Northstar Commuter Rail passengers, but from riders on an earlier Northstar transit line—the far more efficient and cost effective Northstar Commuter Coach express busses that paved the way for today’s trains.
The taxpayers’ tab for the federal program dedicated solely to getting kids to walk and bike to school keeps on climbing. The Freedom Foundation of Minnesota recently revealed that nearly $1 billion had already been allocated for the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Now the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has announced another round of $768,000 in taxpayer-funded grants dedicated to pa...
Featuring: an "education" grocery store, daycare unionization update, commuter rail news, school referenda and the state budget, and short takes!
MINNEAPOLIS, MN--This lame duck session will be the last for outgoing 18-term Congressman Jim Oberstar (D-MN). But old habits die hard, including requesting tens of millions of dollars in earmarks in the omnibus appropriations bill before Congress.
FFM was featured in the segment that ran on KSTP-TV on the Northstar Commuter Rail line extension. As reported, the Phase II extension from Big Lake to St. Cloud has been placed on hold. (Watch the piece on KSTP.com)
Featuring: Northstar Commuter Rail runs operating deficit of $1 million per month, point-of-sale regulations in the Twin Cities, and FFM's new website.
The Northstar Commuter Rail line between Big Lake and Minneapolis has run up an operating deficit of more than $1 million per month so far this year, according to figures obtained by the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota.
FFM Vice President Jonathan Blake was featured in a Star Tribune article on the differences between bus services in the metro.
FFM's Tom Steward wrote a commentary piece for MPR on the proposed Northstar extension from Minneapolis to St. Cloud.
National Watchdog group Watchdog.org ran our piece: The Taxpayers' Missing Link?
Northstar Commuter Rail has been running from Big Lake to Downtown Minneapolis since November 2009. While ridership has been on par with projections by Metro Transit, taxpayers are still subsidizing $80 for every $15 round-trip ticket, according to a Freedom Foundation of Minnesota analysis. Yet Northstar officials and policymakers continue to push an extension of the line to St. Cloud, which would have a major impact on taxpayers.
Featuring: a statement from FFM CEO Annette Meeks, Rochester Watchdog Training 6/29, transit truths, and more!
KSTP's Tracking Your Money segment featured FFM analysis on Metro Transit's plan for a second back-up locomotive, or a back-up for the back-up.
List of 216 earmark requests leads to fierce competition for FFM honors
FFM will host transportation expert Randal O'Toole this Thursday, March 25. HometownSource.com (from ECM Publishers, Inc.) ran a story on the upcoming event as well as a book review of O'Toole's book Gridlock: Why We're Stuck in Traffic and What to Do About It.
While the Northstar Commuter Rail line is meeting its start-up ridership goals so far, it may be an uphill climb to double monthly ridership by September as projected, even with passengers paying just a fraction of the heavily subsidized train’s true cost, according to a Freedom Foundation of Minnesota (FFM) analysis of the first 100 days of operation.
FFM's analysis of the first 100 days of the Northstar Commuter Rail was featured on national watchdog group Watchdog.org. The report uses public data to calculate the true cost of the commuter rail service and raises questions about if taxpayers are getting railroaded.
Featuring: DNR pier pressure, another stimulus shortcoming, and follow up on tax migration report.
Featuring: Transit event, serious materials update, and announcing our forthcoming tax migration study.
Featuring: City of Duluth-for sale, Plymouth's Dial-A-Ride transit program costs taxpayers $17 per ride, and Minnesota by the Numbers.
Featuring: Duluth's financial woes, Metro Transit fare hike, and Star Tribune gets one right.
Sign up today for our e-update to find out what is going on in your state and local government.
We will do our best to uncover the wasteful spending you report.
Subscribe to our RSS feed!