Letter: Tax bill contains no money for light rail.


To the editor: 

Goodhue County has had plenty of drama over the ZIP Rail slicing down to Rochester that died in 2016 and then Gov. Mark Dayton's effort to start a different line, that signs on farms across Goodhue County derided as the ZOMBIE ZIP Rail.

The current tax bill of course will change before it is finally signed, but neither U.S. House or Senate bill contains the $938 million that Dayton claims is essential for Southwest Light Rail. Despite already spending $350 million on SWLTR, if Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken's efforts to keep funding SWLTR do not survive signing the bill, it will mean the end of any new light rail in Minnesota as long as Republicans in the Minnesota Legislature like Sen. Mike Goggin and Rep. Steve Drazkowski appropriate no money.

This is sort of a non-news story because nothing will happen on new light rail.

Rather, Dakota and Goodhue counties will see continued upgrades on the Cedar Avenue busway and connecting service. But probably the real big change in transportation will follow the burgeoning internet app for hailing taxis. No more billion dollar, fixed route railroads. Instead private cars and drivers for hire will use the power of the internet to move people on demand.

U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis has led congressional opposition to SWLTR funding. Klobuchar and Franken have been blunt. All their infrastructure priorities have been for metro area railroads. Klobuchar will need to defend that record next November.

Douglas Jones