Met Council Chair Call for More Taxes and Transit

February 13, 2013 at 2:01 pm 6 comments


By Andrew Richter

Well, folks I hope you can stomach this……from the twilight zone the Met Council chair gave a recent “address” talking about the “need” for more and more transit.

Met Council Chairwoman Susan Haigh portrayed the region as primed for transit and the means of accelerating its growth at hand.

Susan Haigh

Met Council Chairwoman Susan Haigh delivered her second State of the Region Address at the St. Paul Union Depot on Monday (Feb. 11) focusing on transit. (Photo by T.W. Budig) Haigh delivered her transit-focused State of the Region Address Monday (Feb. 11) in the restored St. Paul Union Depot, which next year should see Central Corridor Light Rail passengers crossing its broad polished floors.

Haigh’s speech comes at a time when lawmakers are digesting Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton’s state budget proposal, one including a regional, quarter-cent sales tax dedicated to transit. The transit sale tax is controversial, partly because some officials view their regions as slighted in terms of transit development. Haigh views the proposed dedicated sales tax as a remedy. “If we have a certain, dedicated, reliable funding stream, then we will be able to serve the entire region,” Haigh said, speaking after her address.

Oh yeah, just keep that money flowing into an unelected body so “we the people” have no control over it and nobody is held accountable.

“If we don’t have that, we won’t,” she said. Achieving a reliable funding stream will help people visualize what’s coming and when, Haigh explained. “And that’s what helps people see what part of the region will be served next,” she said. “What the prioritization is. And they’ll know it’s going to happen. It’s the uncertainty, I think, that’s hard for people,” she said. In her speech, Haigh depicted the metro, the economic “furnace” of the state’s economy, as falling behind other regions in terms of transit.

This is a big deal. “Today’s Minnesotans want more transit,” she said.

It depends how you ask the question.

“Tomorrow’s Minnesotans expect more transit,” Haigh said.

Again, that depends; people may want more transit generally speaking, but where, when, how much, and what it costs will change those numbers.

Indeed, 46 percent of drivers ages 18 to 24 said they would choose Internet access over owning a car, she said. And, the ability to get a head start on work combined with a shorter, stress-free commute with electronic devices glowing makes transit a “no-brainer,” Haigh argued.

Come on, you idiot! How many people 18 to 24 even have a job? How many of them are working near their house while in school? How many are just full-time students?  And why is owning a car any of your business?

“A robust, 21st Century transit system will help our region compete for talent and jobs,” she said. Discussions on the Central Corridor, or the Green Line, began 20 years ago. “Let’s not wait another 20 years to open the next line,” she said.

Yes, let’s take 100 years.

In illustrating the heart beat of transit, Haigh told a story of a little boy in Sunday school who when asked what the moral of the story of Jonah and the Whale was, concluded, “swallowing people makes whales throw up.” The point of the governor’s transit sale tax proposal isn’t simply to build more transit, Haigh said.

No, of course not! Since you aren’t dumb enough to think that light rails pays for itself, you need to force the development around it. This is where you get all the Agenda 21 terms; affordable housing, smart growth, sustainability, transit oriented development, livable communities etc. It’s all the same stuff over and over. And is all this even factored into the cost of transit?

“Transit expansion is a means to an end and that end is job growth, business growth, and ultimately prosperity for our residents, today and tomorrow,” she said. “We are at a pivotal moment for our transit system,” Haigh said. People need to come aboard, she said.

“There are enough seats for everyone who wants to help create a 21st century transit system, whether you live in Maplewood or Minnetonka,” she said.

“We need you on board!”

What if we don’t want this crap???? Oh that’s right…..you don’t answer to us. “We the People” have no voice.

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Entry filed under: Agenda 21, City Government, Community, Environment, Met Council, Transportation.

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. michaellibby  |  February 13, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    What if I don’t want to pay all these taxes for cities full of streets devoted to cars? What if I dislike paying for snowplowing and traffic control and breathing smog and listening to the roar of the highway? What if I am tired of paying the Detroit and State Farm tax where I get to buy expensive personal inefficient transit (aka “car”) as my single largest budget item after housing? What if I grow weary of spending 45+ minutes a day in traffic where I am unable to do anything but stare at the bumper of the car in front of me?

    I personally CAN’T WAIT for a train to roll through Robbinsdale, so that I can spend my commute reading a book or working on my laptop instead of worrying about some passive-aggressive twerp on the highway deciding that 62MPH isn’t fast enough, even though it’s rush hour.

    We, the People, have a voice. And over the years we have repeatedly said that mass transit is what we want. Yes, Minnesota is divided on the issue, there are lots of those who oppose it as well. But the expansion of mass transit is something a majority of us want.

    Reply
    • 2. communitysolutionsmn  |  February 13, 2013 at 3:33 pm

      What kind of voice do “We the People” have with an unelected body of autocrats, like the Met Council? An appointed body should not have taxing authority. We have no means of removing them at the ballot box. Taxation without representation was a big issue in the founding of this country.

      To say that most people want it is a big assumption, one I haven’t seen backed up in studies not headed by an organization already getting FTA money. If that were true, our current park and rides would be packed. They’re not. There are already bus lines on every major road in any given suburb. There are ways to get downtown other than cars, if that is your desire. The facts are that LRT is inefficient, a money loser, and another thing to slow down traffic, causing more emissions. BRT is better, and loses less money, but again, this is all being pushed by the Met Council. People and Cities are not deciding these things, so much as the Met Council is telling Cities they will do it. A decision like this should come from the bottom up.

      -Jason

      Reply
      • 3. michaellibby  |  February 15, 2013 at 12:59 pm

        The council is appointed by the governor and the members require approval from the legislature. The council does not have any tax authority that I’m aware of. So where is this “taxation without representation” nonsense coming from?

        BRT probably is a good idea. But if you read what I wrote, I said “We, the People, have a voice. And over the years we have repeatedly said that mass transit is what we want.” Mass transit includes BRT. For long trips in crowded areas BRT isn’t any easier to make work really well than LRT, because you need to have special lanes and other infrastructure to support it. This is spendy… plus the ongoing operating costs are then higher. It’s a wash if you actually read about it. I think people pushing BRT really just oppose mass transit and hope to derail the conversation.

  • 4. Norann Dillon  |  February 13, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    Mr. Libby,
    Are you willing to pay higher property taxes for the Bottineau line? Hennepin County is responsible for 10% of light rail capital costs. Their only source of revenue is property taxes. Therefore, more light rail equals higher property taxes.
    Even if YOU are able/willing to pay higher property taxes, how about older and disabled residents on fixed incomes?
    Bus rapid transit has the same benefits – and more – than light rail at a fraction of the cost. Public transit is a critical piece of our regional transportation system, so let’s spend those dollars wisely.
    Norann Dillon
    Plymouth

    Reply
    • 5. michaellibby  |  February 15, 2013 at 12:51 pm

      Yes, if the rest of my property taxes are being spent wisely, feel free to raise my taxes to pay for trains. But first, please stop funding sports stadiums, police for the drug war, subsidies for the airline industry… we are paying a fortune for a war against Iraq, who was no threat to us. It all gets mixed up… sure I’m willing to see taxes go to trains, but if you’re concerned about our overall taxation level, I have a number of suggestions. 🙂

      By the way, people in minnesota who pay property tax that is excessive compared to their income are eligible for a refund http://www.revenue.state.mn.us/individuals/prop_tax_refund/Pages/Eligibility_Requirements_for_the_Property_Tax_Refund.aspx, so the cases you mention are completely irrelevant.

      Reply
  • 6. communitysolutionsmn  |  February 15, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    You have to be kidding me!!! Where does the Met Council get SOME of its taxes? Read your property tax statement! On my statement it says I’m paying the Met Council $36 a year and I’m assuming every home and business in the metro area pays something as well. They also have bonding authority which means they can deficit spend.

    We also have counties transit improvement board that has a $100 million budget as well as bonding authority.

    This IS taxation without representation! Its NOT “nonsense!”

    Andrew

    Reply

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