Governor Mark Dayton and Republicans at the legislature appear slightly closer to a deal on transportation funding, but big sticking points remain, including money for mass transit. Dayton says, “It has to provide for Metro Transit funding, and neither the House or the Senate bill right now does that.” House Speaker Kurt Daudt responds Republicans don’t oppose transit, but want bang for the buck. He says for Southwest LRT in the Twin Cities, the cost of “two billion dollars for one rail line for 14 miles makes it just absolutely the least cost-effective way of moving people ever considered in the state of Minnesota.”
And Daudt says Northstar Commuter Rail between Minneapolis and Big Lake costs government 44 dollars per person, per day. “We could lease a brand new Mercedes Benz for every single person that rides that train, pay for all of their gas, and still have money left over,” he says. Governor Dayton is proposing the line be extended to Saint Cloud, arguing ridership will then go up dramatically.