Reader's view: Rail service plan an 'aquarium' in the making
The News Tribune's opinion pages have carried numerous editorials advocating for passenger rail service between Duluth and Minneapolis. The only real justification seems to be that federal money is available, and we should get ours. That's why we...
The News Tribune's opinion pages have carried numerous editorials advocating for passenger rail service between Duluth and Minneapolis. The only real justification seems to be that federal money is available, and we should get ours. That's why we elect U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar every two years.
So far, I have seen no rational discussion in print of the current proposal's numerous flaws. Here are a few.
Clearly, this proposal is a solution looking for a problem. Currently, there is van service to the Minneapolis airport and the Mall of America six times a day, with costs less than those ballyhooed by the rail advocates. I'm sure if public transportation really caught on, big buses would be available.
Who would ride this boondoggle train more than once? Do I see another aquarium on the horizon?
The current proposal is doomed to failure. When passenger trains share the same tracks as freight trains, as proposed, maintaining schedules is impossible. This is Amtrak's current big problem. A dedicated track is the only real option, but start-up and maintenance costs would be much higher than those proposed. But who cares, it's only federal money. What's a trillion here or there?
Finally, do we want Duluth to become a bedroom community of Minneapolis? England is the best example of how cheap, heavily subsidized transportation to big cities destroys the identities of the surrounding smaller communities and of the messes created when subsidies stop. The fact is this current proposal is a bad idea that could cost us in Duluth many of the things that make our city a great place to live.
Rail service to Minneapolis may make sense in the context of a functioning national passenger rail system, especially if air travel is phased out, but not standing alone -- and not as proposed.