Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Missing Light Rail

In a country where a consortium of greenies and statist Keynesians are advancing all manner of bizarre transportation alternatives that will never produce the enthusiastic ridership predicted, there's one nice big opportunity for light rail  that never seems to get considered.  That would be the University of Minnesota inter-campus transport system.

There are two U of M campi in the Twin Cities, one in Minneapolis, the "Main U", and another in nearby St. Paul, the "farm campus".  The furthest distance between spots on the two venues is roughly six miles and regular free bus service is provided as often as every ten minutes for students going from one location to another.  So, why not a train, a light rail system, a trolley in new clothes?

Behemoth bus that totes students from one campus to the other.

While much of the route followed by the Campus Connector is on city streets, which can always be redesignated, some of it is an actual university limited-access highway restricted to official use, something that could easily be converted to a railbed, just as the the humongous light rail system running between the two downtowns parallels it for a distance.  Why not?

Could it be because the feds haven't sent a few trainloads full of money to the Gopher regents, who otherwise depend on the largesse of the state taxpayers and ever-increasing tuition receipts for liquid assets?  Wealthy alumni have donated funds in the past for the construction of buildings on campus, why not cajole one or more of them into financing a rail system?  Since it makes so much sense.

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