Green Room

New $13 million transit station for … 100 riders

posted at 11:12 am on November 9, 2012 by

Yesterday, I flew home to the Twin Cities.  Today, I know I’m back.  Transit officials here cut the ribbon on a new $13 million station for the Northstar Commuter light-rail line that may serve as the precursor to a lengthy and costly extension to St. Cloud.  So how many riders will it add?  Only 100, a figure that even prompts the Star Tribune to raise an eyebrow:

A new rail station that opens next Wednesday in Ramsey could give the Northstar Commuter line the ridership boost it needs for an eventual extension to St. Cloud, an Anoka County official says.

But even as a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday heralded the arrival of the seventh station along the line, others have questioned the cost: about $13 million, or an average of roughly $130,000 for each of the 100 new daily round-trip riders the station is expected to attract. Some also wonder whether the new station will merely siphon riders from the two stations on either side of it.

“I thought that the Ramsey station was not needed and pretty costly,” Sherburne County Commissioner Felix Schmiesing, a longtime Northstar advocate, said earlier this fall. “The 200 rides per day. … I hope they’re there.”

Anoka County Commissioner Matt Look, a former Ramsey council member, predicted the new station will exceed the 100 daily round trips that Northstar officials hope it will generate. With a bus line being discontinued because of the station’s arrival, and a 230-unit apartment complex going up near the site, Look said the station could increase Northstar’s overall ridership by 25 percent. Based on current figures, that would be a rise of about 600 rides per day.

Still, detractors question the outlay for a station that is 4 miles from the stop in Anoka and six miles from the stop in Elk River. They say the time and money would have been better spent on plans to extend the 41-mile line beyond Big Lake, its western endpoint.

Hey, it’s the price of progress.  And let’s face it — at $130,000 per rider, it’s still less expensive than the per-job cost of Obama’s stimulus.

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EVERYBODY GETS ICE CREAM!

tom daschle concerned on November 9, 2012 at 11:13 AM

the project was obviously “shovel ready” so forget economics…on a related note, I heard that Wisconsin is being sued by one of the parties to the rail project killed by Walker (the “train to nowhere” project).

our liberals want so much to be like Europe…they fail to see that there are too many differences to make a “comparable” and also fail to see that Europe ain’t doing so great either.

teejk on November 9, 2012 at 11:23 AM

The country might be going to hell, but at least we’ll be able to get there together on our new light rail…or even better, get there faster on our new bullet trains!

nextgen_repub on November 9, 2012 at 11:27 AM

I can’t wait until Minnesota suckers build that new choo choo train to practically my front door. After all, $1 billion plus is a small price to pay for the convenience me and a couple thousand others to have easier access to downtown Crapholeapolis!

After this election I have a new outlook on life. Give me my free crap, starting with this choo choo train. Pay up, suckers!

MNHawk on November 9, 2012 at 11:34 AM

I just spoke with a co-worker whose daughter is a geologist for an oil company. Her daughter saw no difference between Obama and Romney. WTF? If oil and gas employees can’t see the difference, we have a messaging problem.

JustTruth101 on November 9, 2012 at 11:43 AM

It will be a lot less when people no longer have jobs to commute to.

Blake on November 9, 2012 at 11:49 AM

Generally, federal funding is available for any “light rail” project. And, money that could’ve gone to expanding congested roads didn’t, and more congestion = more pollution. Welcome to Omerica.

Transpo on November 9, 2012 at 12:12 PM

I just spoke with a co-worker whose daughter is a geologist for an oil company. Her daughter saw no difference between Obama and Romney. WTF? If oil and gas employees can’t see the difference, we have a messaging problem.

JustTruth101 on November 9, 2012 at 11:43 AM

Did you tell your coworker “Congrats, your daughter is a low info voter”?

I’m done playing nice with some of my less politically educated friends. I used to just change the subject or bite my tongue, no more. I’m not a jerk about it, and don’t insult. I just counter their lame talking points with actual facts.

nextgen_repub on November 9, 2012 at 12:12 PM

I just spoke with a co-worker whose daughter is a geologist for an oil company. Her daughter saw no difference between Obama and Romney. WTF? If oil and gas employees can’t see the difference, we have a messaging problem.

JustTruth101 on November 9, 2012 at 11:43 AM

It’s not the GOP’s fault if people aren’t listening.

UltimateBob on November 9, 2012 at 12:37 PM

I’m done playing nice with some of my less politically educated friends. I used to just change the subject or bite my tongue, no more. I’m not a jerk about it, and don’t insult. I just counter their lame talking points with actual facts.

nextgen_repub on November 9, 2012 at 12:12 PM

You are assuming that these people can be reasoned with.

I have learned otherwise in my dealings with cement-headed leftists. They are willfully ignorant of facts and reality. Runs off them like water off a duck’s back.

Seriously, when I try to reason with the left, they’ll counter with an article from MoveOn.org or an editorial from the NYT, as if those are real facts. It’s a futile effort.

UltimateBob on November 9, 2012 at 12:47 PM

I live in Ramsey and work a few blocks from the last stop downtown … but I just can’t see myself being one of those 100 riders.

Professor_Chaos on November 9, 2012 at 1:00 PM

I also live in Ramsey. Our City Government is actually fairly good, with the exception of a project called the COR.

Every conservative principle goes out the window when it comes to this development. Somehow the City ended up with a bankrupt development and now figures that only more spending will fix the problem.

With the North Star, there is currently a stop in Anoka and one in Elk River. They might be ten miles apart. Adding another stop between the two at the COR might add a few riders to the North Star. But I think most people who would ride from the COR already do from one of the other two stops.

jpmn on November 9, 2012 at 1:50 PM