--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...
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.
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.
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.
List of 216 earmark requests leads to fierce competition for FFM honors
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.
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